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  • Writer's picture Jana

Garin, our Trusty Tour Guide, Plans an Adventurous Day of Exploring for us on the Big Island.

The Lieblich family gets a bit antsy if we don't go exploring. Let me clarify that. Garin and I get antsy if we don't go exploring. As much as I love sitting by the pool or relaxing at the beach, I (as well as Garin) am way too curious to sit around in a lounge chair and not see what exciting discoveries await me, especially when traveling. So off we went yesterday to explore this incredible island.

When we arrived, we found a few (excellent) guidebooks on the coffee table in the condominium. Garin immediately starting reading them. He studied up on Hawaiian history, geography, interesting destinations to see while visiting the island, and much more. You might wonder how I know this since I didn't read the books myself? Well, Garin kindly repeated back nearly everything he learned in the books, to us, verbatim, whether we were interested or not. At least I can say that we are now all experts on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The great thing about Garin's voracious appetite for knowledge is that he is the perfect person to call upon when you decide to take a spur of the moment day trip. Since arriving he has absorbed as much information about this island as most gather in a lifetime, so who better to lead our tour? And yesterday he did not disappoint. With just an hour's notice, he put together an entire itinerary for a five-plus hour day trip, including lunch spots and even where to get the island's best ice cream. The ice cream was the big selling point for our younger tourists since they would just as soon have stayed behind and lounged at pool all day.

We started at Puako Petroglyphs along the Kohala Coast, which was fascinating.

From there we headed to the Kona Cloud Forest. Then we took the long and scenic drive to Waimea, where we dined on delicious Korean food for lunch that Garin learned about in his trusty book. We then headed off for another scenic drive to Hawi, to sample the delicious Tropical Dreams ice cream. On our drive back to Waikoloa, our home base, we stopped at the beach at the Mauna Kea Hotel as our final stop.

Thank you Garin, for a fabulous day!

The 223 acre Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve boasts more than 3000 ancient petroglyphs, or kii pohku, lava rock carvings etched in stone dating back to 1200 AD.

The Kona Cloud Forest is truly another world from the broiling lava desert surrounding the Kona Airport, just 15 minutes away. Cloud forests, also sometimes called fog forests, are characterized by a frequent, low-level cloud cover due to their generally tropical/subtropical, evergreen, montane or moist environment. We didn't bring jackets, but with the 25 degree dip in temperature, we sure needed them.

Garin consulted his trusty guide book as we wound our way from one fascinating place to another. Garin has a fascination with maps, so rather than using Waze or another onboard navigation system, he got us got us where we needed to go by using an old fashioned map. Very old school and impressive.

En route to the infamous ice cream, we pulled off on some scenic turnouts but boy was it cold! Garin reported reading that in this particular area all the trees are crooked from the wind constantly blowing them in one direction, which we observed.

We stopped to look at these beautiful black cows grazing on the hillside. This entire area, which is cold, wet, windy and so very green, is spotted with cows in every direction. Garin's trusty book claimed that when the gale force winds die down, from time-to-time, the cows have been know to just fall over as they grow accustomed to being "held up" by the strong winds. Miles claimed that he saw one of the cows rolling down a hill, but since he has been known to greatly exaggerate on more than one occasion, so we dismissed his wild claim.

Click here to learn more about this delicious local ice cream:

Check out this video of an adorable wild Hawaiian chicken and her babies trying to eat Garin's ice cream.

Our last stop, before heading home, was the gorgeous Mauna Kea beach to watch the beginning of the sunset.

Stay tuned for a glimpse into our Easter celebration, Hawaiian-style, on tomorrow's blog post.

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