A few days at the Paniolo Greens, Waikoloa, Hawai'i
Thursday, March 1 to Saturday March 3
With the decision to end our lava quest, our destination became more clear: head north-west along the saddle road to the Kohala coast, and find a place to stay for the night. We had a fancy condo booked for the following night, and we thought that maybe one final night of camping at a nice seaside beach park might be good for this night.
We had done a bit of research and had heard that Hapuna Beach park was one of Hawai'i's premiere beaches. There were apparently no campsites there, but there were rentable rustic cabins, and we decided to see if there was some way that we could snag one. After driving down many thousands of feet of elevation, back into the land of heat and palm trees, we reached the State Park. Unfortunately, it was not at all obvious where the cabins were. We spent some time poking about, attempting to find them, and feeling both grungy, sweaty and a bit foolish to be walking around in the hot tropical sun in what essentially was cold-weather hiking garb. I'm sure the people around us in bathing suits and with beach towels thought we looked a bit sketchy.
Eventually we located the cabins. It appeared they could only ever be reserved online, and well in advance - so, they were out of the question for us. Hot and sweaty, we weren't feeling particularly 'campy' any longer, and our thoughts turned to the cushy condo that Brian had booked us into for the next night. It wasn't far from where we were; perhaps we could check to see if we could extend our stay to include the coming night as well. That would be both convenient and comfortable.
A twenty minute drive brought us to a small suburban settlement a short distance away from the coast, called Waikoloa. We pulled into the parking lot of the condo - called 'The Paniolo Greens at Waikoloa'. In all his grungy hiker glory, we let Brian walk in to the reception desk on his own. No use scaring the staff with three times the grunge!
Fortunately, our attempt was successful - they were able to accommodate our request, and we were booked into the Paniolo Greens for two full days and nights. A rare bit of permanence for us ever-moving travellers!
The condo was a very nice but typical sort of thing: a multi-level well-appointed apartment with two bedrooms, two baths, and a full living room, dining area, and fully-equipped kitchen. Out back, the condo opened out onto a very lush and well-manicured eighteen-hole golf course. Brightly-colored wild turkeys gobbled about on the grass below our balcony. A pretty relaxing place, and a world of difference from the stark otherworld from which we had just descended. I suppose that made it all the more special.
We spent the next hour or two spreading out our junk, re-organizing, and taking some much-needed showers. We decided to take advantage of our kitchen and the resort's barbeques (they had barbeques stationed around at various points on the grounds); we went out to a nearby grocery store and put together a nice dinner of salad, bbq chicken(?), and sweet potatoes. A nice, relaxing evening.