Cover photo by Erika Pagan :)
A few weeks ago, a few friends along with my boyfriend and I escaped for the weekend to a pretty popular camping spot on the other side of the island; a beach called Makalawena (Mah- Kah- la- veh- nah) on the Kohala coast of the big island, approximately 79 miles from where we live in Hilo.
Having planned this trip weeks ahead, naturally we were looking forward to it. A couple of days to just unplug, unwind, swim, eat, and connect with friends. That entire side of the island rained heavily the week leading up to the trip, which is an extreme anomaly as our Hilo side of the island is stereotypically where all of its rain accumulates. I told myself that rain or shine, I was GOING TO HAVE A GOOD TIME DANGIT.
We got to the entrance of the "road" down to the beach (it's more like a trail.... you need to off road to get there.) at around 11 am and the sky was unbelievably clear and blue. We took the adventure in and giggled when our cars got stuck on rocks and had to map out our path. We bounced and bobbled over the rocks and dirt and finally hit the sand.
When we made it to the beach there were only a few people already there, so we had our fair pick of choices as to where to park and camp. We collectively decided on a spot at the top of a hill with a sort of shelf directly in front of it, both overlooking a pebbled bay. We parked under the Keawe trees and jumped into camping mode.
After half heartedly asking my boyfriend if he needed help setting up our stuff, (yes, I admit it) he replied: "don't do anything to set up, I got it. Go relax."
I mean, he insisted.
The two other girls that came with us and I slapped on some sunscreen and headed for the insanely blue water. There, we swam and went on for about 10 minutes about how good the water felt and how peaceful and amazing it felt to get away, blah blah blah. The boys joined us soon after.
We sat in the water for a couple of hours, talking and skipping rocks in the nearly flat bay. The boys went fishing.
Sunset rolled around at about 6:15 pm and I was stoked to say the least. I had three brand new rolls of film along with my boyfriends dslr, so not only was I stoked, I was prepared. By this time, the guys were getting the grill ready for dinner, so my invitation to explore the beach at sunset was kindly declined. I walked by myself around past the point of our little bay and found an amazing shore of white coral, glowing golden with the last rays of sunlight of the day. I waded in the water and bent into the most unflattering, embarrassing stances in order to get "the shot". A few minutes later, my boyfriend joined me but of course refused pictures.
By the time I headed back to our campsite, dinner was just about ready. We sat together around the plastic table on our little cliff/ shelf over the bay and ate char siu chicken and cup of noodles. As the sun set, we gazed up at the stars to find a plethora of constellations, shooting stars, and waved at the passing sattelites.
After a few hours of sitting by the fire and talking and laughing, we headed to bed, the sound of the waves putting us to sleep.
We woke up to a cloudless Sunday morning and had pre made breakfast burritos before making our way to the water again, this time snorkeling for hours, admiring the reef and its wildlife, looking for tako (octopus) and anything else we could eat.
At one point, we were joined in the bay by another group of friends who had two adorable dogs; one German shepherd and the other one a chihuahua mix. I cooed at the dogs, greeted their owners, headed back underwater with my snorkel, and soon saw four furry paws and a wagging tail swimming right at me. I laughed and popped up in excitement instantly saying hi to the German shepherd and reaching my hand out to him. Of course, he swam right past me to his owners. I swear that was the highlight of my day.
Before we knew it, it was time for lunch: pigs in a blanket, and slices of pineapple. After lunch, we took our last dips in the crystal clear bay, packed up, and started our trek back to civilization. On the way back, we stopped at a resort's shopping center and had some ice cream together.
Upon getting home, I jumped in the shower, realizing all the cuts on my feet from the reef and the thorns from the Keawe trees. They stung and I smiled, because did you really go camping (or on any adventure at all for that matter) if you don't have any battle scars afterward?
Although I wish our camping trip could have lasted longer, it was so so refreshing, and exactly what I needed. To unplug, relax, and be present with great company. I'm already looking forward to the next trip!
Thank you for spending this time with me! If you have any suggestions on campsites or hikes to go on, leave them in the comments! We are always looking for new adventures!