It’s one of the most awe-inspiring sights I’ve ever seen: molten lava...
When I see women traveling with backpacks larger than mine, sometimes I feel a flash of envy. What are they stashing in the extra space? More shoes? A hair dryer? Faced with the challenge of packing for a six-week trip to Hawaii and Alaska in a 40-liter backpack, I almost gave in to size envy and upgraded.
I’m glad I didn’t. Despite the fact that my backpack was purchased for a nine-week Central American trip that required solely hot weather wear, the same reasons I originally selected it still trumped the enticement of another pair of shoes.
First, a larger backpack would mean frequently being separated from it—checking it at airports, surrendering it during bus rides or airport taxis—and I’m kind of neurotic that way. I like arriving at my destination knowing I’ll have my clothes and other essentials in hand. With six flights on the Seattle-Hawaii-Alaska-Seattle itinerary alone, that would be six times a bag could go astray; and since we’re frequently in places for a short amount of time, often only a night or two, reuniting with an errant bag could be difficult.
Second, being on the move so much means having to re-pack every few days. The less stuff, the shorter amount of time that chore takes.
Third, the bigger the bag the heavier it is to tote around.
After growing a bit accustomed to palm trees and sandy beaches, the sight of snow was a bit shocking. Just weeks earlier we had felt the blowtorch-like heat of molten lava singe our cheeks. Now, we were gliding over endless miles of frozen tundra on our approach into Anchorage, Alaska. We knew that traveling here directly from Hawaii would offer a study in contrasts and, judging by the view from our airplane window, we weren’t going to be disappointed.
Wooden totems still protect the area that once served as a Hawaiian sanctuary for repentant lawbreakers and war refuges at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park.
It turns out we’re not the only ones who enjoy Hawaii’s glorious beaches. These green sea turtles pulled up some sand to soak in the sun at Punalu’u Beach.
If you’ve been following along on our trip around the Big Island of Hawaii you may have gotten the impression that all of its exotic beaches are exotically hued. We’ve written a lot about black sand beaches and even an incredibly rare green sand beach. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t regular old white sand beaches here as well.
In fact, Hapuna Beach (shown above) regularly appears on various international “Top Ten” lists. With wonderful sand and beautiful water there’s little wonder why it is one of the island’s most popular. That it’s convenient parking makes it far more accessible than those other beaches we’ve discussed doesn’t hurt either.