Our lazy morning started out with a dip in a small, volcanically-heated pool in the very campground we were staying. Connie and I shared the pool with a family of kids who were eager to show off for my underwater camera. We moved on from there back to the town of Pahoa to get fruit and veggies from their local farmers' market before heading towards Hilo. Let me tell you, however, Hilo was a total bust. I highly recommend avoiding this town on a Sunday or Monday because everything's pretty much shut down. Couple that with the fact it was Superbowl Sunday and some restaurants we were keen to visit that normally would've been open were closed for private football events and it was like a ghost town. Nevertheless, we found a bar open with decent food. We made a visit to nearby Rainbow Falls which was even nearly shut down as the falls were a mere trickle. Even the stunning, century+ old banyan tree in the park has had most of it's top-down, swinging vine-like roots cut for safety reasons.
With that, we bid Hilo a fond "smell ya later" and headed north. Immediately the scenery of the windy, coastal road turned stunning and we were happy again. Our next stop was Akaka Falls where an easy loop hike took us through stunning jungle and to Kahuna Falls as well. On our way out from there we stopped at a farm stand where a super nice woman cut us up a coconut to drink the sweet water from and even showed us around her farm a bit.
Daylight started to fade so we headed to what would turn out to be one of our favorite camping spots: Laupahoehoe Beach Park. We were able to back our van onto a little rise which gave us a stunning view of the ocean waves crashing against some craggy, basalt boulders jutting out from the shore. We cooked up some dinner, had a drink or two, watched some local fishermen cast hundreds of yards off shore with their green glowing lures, and settled for bed.