Our last day on the Kohala Coast! Danny volunteered to watch Casey while Mike and I drove up to our favorite little mountain town to visit the not 1, not 2, but 3 farmer’s markets they have in this quaint little oasis on a hill.
Big Island’s Waimea (there’s a Waimea town on every major Hawaiian island) sits about 2500 feet above sea level and there is a very visible line that extends up, through, and down from the town to delineate the “wet” and the “dry” side of the mountain. The Big Island has almost 8 of the 13 known types of climate zones found on the earth. This town just happens to straddle two of them, ‘temperate – continuously wet warm’, and ‘temperate – dry warm.’ As you drive up Kohala Mountain from the Kohala Coast, you can see mostly brown fields until all of a sudden, they are green. In fact, I heard that real estate values on homes in Waimea can vary quite a bit depending on if you are on the ‘dry side’ or the ‘wet side.’ I personally don’t care what side I am on, it’s all beautiful! (although we did get rained on at 2 of the 3 markets.)
We also snuck one last drive up Kohala Mountain Road to see the ranch that the kids and I rode horseback through; I think it is my favorite road to drive on here.
The ironwood trees have a distinct sound that their leaves make when the wind blows through them, which is about 99% of the time. It is one of the most beautiful, most peaceful and almost eery sounds I have ever experienced. I tried to make a quick recording on my phone but the background noise didn’t make for any quality of video worth saving.
We also stopped at a roadside stand that was smoking about 50 chickens at a time. The guys were selling not only chicken, but ribs, plate lunches and amazing papayas for only 75 cents each! That is a steal! We grabbed 2 chickens, some ribs and three papayas and headed back down the mountain to have lunch with the kiddos, who were
patiently waiting playing on their technology while were gone.
We decided to spend one more afternoon at Pauoa Beach below us so we all walked down for one last hurrah. The boys snorkeled (Dan finally got to swim and photograph a turtle!) while Casey lolled around in the bay and I relaxed on the beach. Once again, she showed her fearlessness when she started heading out of the bay (and out to sea) on her little round float. I had to call after her to come back (she pretended to not listen) but before I was forced to head in after her, Mike and Dan popped up in the water right next to her. Mike had no choice but to take her out a bit further (she can be very persuasive!) until she announced she was going to climb on some rocks past the bay and jump off of them. This was nothing like the last cliff jumping expedition in Kauai. No one climbs on these rocks because they just aren’t safe. Too many, too unpredictable, too slippery. “But Dad, this is a rock jumping safe place!” she whined. Yeah, right! Even Dad could not be persuaded by her charms this time.
After the beach, we showered up for probably our last ‘fancy meal’ before we head home next week. Merriman’s, back up in Waimea, is known for it’s dedication to supporting local farmers, it’s attention to detail and it’s superbly delicious food. Janet, our fabulous concierge had set up the reservation for us and had clearly mentioned that we were celebrating a vow renewal this week; the staff treated us to champagne and several little extra delicacies that made this meal one of the most delicious that we have shared on any of the islands. I was so glad we saved it for the end of this fabulous week.