The airports in Hawaii are calm and open to the air, instead of windows, there are whole passageways through the soft island breezes. It was my third trip to Hawaii, but our first to the Big Island, and the arrival after 12 hours in a plane was sweet as always, my in-laws placing lei's over our necks at the airport.
Jetlag instigated our plans for the next morning: a sunrise hike leaving around 5am into the Pololū Valley, about an hour across the northern tip of the island from our resort.
We left the hotel and arrived at the lookout above the valley in the dark, a wee bit sad we'd forgotten the headlamps, happy to see the coconut flakes of the stars.
While Walker's parents waited for the light at the lookout above, we headed down the steep and rocky slope to get a clearer view of the mountain layers, and stopped about a quarter of the way down for this celestial view.
After the sun came up, we continued on our way down. And down. And down. Let's not forget our ever present companions, the extra set of legs.
As the morning came on, by 7:30, the heat pushing through the cliff's foliage was almost radiating. We couldn't believe the contrast.
In our first view of what would turn out to be the most pervasively volcanic environment we've been, we glimpsed the dark beach below.
When we finally arrived down at sea level, we hadn't seen a single person on the trail. The morning felt pure and wide. The beach was coated with airy volcanic stones made spheres in the waves. The sound of them rolling lightly around, pushed by the water, was loud in the bright morning.
Right on the beach, a serene, sulphuric-scented pond flowed back toward the mountains and cliffs.
We headed back through the open wood at the base of the cliffs, the morning heat blazing into our sleepy eyes.
That white surf and palms that feel so Hawaiian distanced as we lifted out of the valley.
Such a perfect start to our week on the Big Island, this morning glory into the Pacific.