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Charming, lush Hilo was pleasant surprise on the Big Island

Akaka Falls, at 442 ft, is the tallest free-flowing waterfall in Hawaii; it lies in a state park where admission was $10 to take a half mile up and down path to admire the scenery

Akaka Falls, at 442 ft, is the tallest free-flowing waterfall in Hawaii; it lies in a state park where admission was $10 to take a half mile up and down path to admire the scenery

Amelia Earhart planted this banyan tree in 1935 on Hilo's Banyan Drive; Hilo gets less than half the tourists of the sunnier and warmer west side of the island (Kona)

Amelia Earhart planted this banyan tree in 1935 on Hilo's Banyan Drive; Hilo gets less than half the tourists of the sunnier and warmer west side of the island (Kona)

The mongoose was introduced originally to control the rats infesting sugar cane fields; unfortunately rats are active at night and the mongoose during the day with the mongoose population now out of control

The mongoose was introduced originally to control the rats infesting sugar cane fields; unfortunately rats are active at night and the mongoose during the day with the mongoose population now out of control

Much of attractive Lili'uokalani Park now consists of Edo-style Japanese gardens, built 1917-1919, and said to be the largest such gardens outside Japan

Much of attractive Lili'uokalani Park now consists of Edo-style Japanese gardens, built 1917-1919, and said to be the largest such gardens outside Japan

Rainbow Falls is 80 ft. tall and the falls flow over a natural lava cave, the mythological home to Hina, an ancient Hawaiian goddess; supposedly every morning around 10am you can see rainbows here (we were too early)

Rainbow Falls is 80 ft. tall and the falls flow over a natural lava cave, the mythological home to Hina, an ancient Hawaiian goddess; supposedly every morning around 10am you can see rainbows here (we were too early)

The Waipio Valley Lookout offers stunning views of Waipio Valley which is about one mile across and over five miles deep, and surrounded by cliffs up to 2000 feet high

The Waipio Valley Lookout offers stunning views of Waipio Valley which is about one mile across and over five miles deep, and surrounded by cliffs up to 2000 feet high

Wailuku River Falls; starting at 10,800 ft on the slopes of Mauna Kea, the Wailuku River is the longest in Hawaii at 28 miles long; the river is rated Class 5 white water and has been navigated by experts on kayak

Wailuku River Falls; starting at 10,800 ft on the slopes of Mauna Kea, the Wailuku River is the longest in Hawaii at 28 miles long; the river is rated Class 5 white water and has been navigated by experts on kayak

The royal poinciana is my favorite tree in Hawaii; native to Madagascar, the tree typically blooms in Hawaii from April-June with brilliant red flowers (although I like the rarer yellow variety even more)

The royal poinciana is my favorite tree in Hawaii; native to Madagascar, the tree typically blooms in Hawaii from April-June with brilliant red flowers (although I like the rarer yellow variety even more)

FDR planted this banyan tree in July 1934; other famous people to have planted trees on Banyan Drive include Babe Ruth, Richard Nixon, Cecil B DeMille and Louis Armstrong

FDR planted this banyan tree in July 1934; other famous people to have planted trees on Banyan Drive include Babe Ruth, Richard Nixon, Cecil B DeMille and Louis Armstrong

Peepee Falls (80 ft) is about a mile and a half upriver from Rainbow Falls; also here are the Boiling Pots, a series of small pools and cascades that can be quite turbulent if it has recently rained

Peepee Falls (80 ft) is about a mile and a half upriver from Rainbow Falls; also here are the Boiling Pots, a series of small pools and cascades that can be quite turbulent if it has recently rained

Kehena Beach, south of Hilo in the Puna district, is one of the most famous black sand beaches on the island; this hippie hangout was formed in a 1955 lava flow

Kehena Beach, south of Hilo in the Puna district, is one of the most famous black sand beaches on the island; this hippie hangout was formed in a 1955 lava flow

Amazing root systems of trees above Kehena Black Sand Beach; the snorkeling was surprisingly good here (although in very deep water) with Lee seeing a couple of turtles

Amazing root systems of trees above Kehena Black Sand Beach; the snorkeling was surprisingly good here (although in very deep water) with Lee seeing a couple of turtles

The view out our hotel window in Hilo was of Coconut Island (or Moku ola in Hawaiian); the island was the site of an ancient temple dedicated to healing with legend saying anyone swimming around the island 3 times would be healed

The view out our hotel window in Hilo was of Coconut Island (or Moku ola in Hawaiian); the island was the site of an ancient temple dedicated to healing with legend saying anyone swimming around the island 3 times would be healed

Monkeypod trees, like this gorgeous specimen in Lili'uokalani Park, are ubiquitous in Hawaii; the park's site was donated by Queen Liliʻuokalani, and lies SE of downtown Hilo, on the Waiakea Peninsula in Hilo Bay

Monkeypod trees, like this gorgeous specimen in Lili'uokalani Park, are ubiquitous in Hawaii; the park's site was donated by Queen Liliʻuokalani, and lies SE of downtown Hilo, on the Waiakea Peninsula in Hilo Bay

Posted by VagabondCowboy 03:56

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