Adventure Journal: Makalawena, June 2018

I think I’m gonna start a series here about our adventures. I always take tons of pictures and the memories flood back, but Now I think I’d like somewhere to share those memories. So here is my adventure diary! I’ll share a lot about different adventures as I experience them, and I’d love if you read along!

If you’ve ever been to Makalawena on the West side of the Big Island, you’ll know that it isn’t for the faint of heart. The road in is pretty brutal, but like nearly all brutal roads, the product is amazingly beautiful. I’d like to preface this post with the fact that although off roading can be a little exhausting, I always leave this place sunburnt and smiling. There’s nothing quite like an adventure with great company. 

Who: Dion, Adrianne, Sha, Kim, Anna, Steven   (We met Dion & Adrianne last year when they visited the island from Philadelphia and this year they brought along some new friends! This year, they came to celebrate their engagement!!) Keanu, Erika, Travis, Abner  and I. 

What: A day trip to Makalawena 

When: Saturday, June 9, 2018 

We drove from Hilo in 3 separate cars. Abner & I in his FJ cruiser, Keanu, Erika & Travis in Keanu’s 4Runner, and Our 6 Friends from Philly in their Armada. We all met at the top of the “road” to Makalawena. The Armada is all-wheel drive, so they parked it and our friends split up; 3 in our car and 3 in Keanu’s. Then, we headed down the road, bumping heads and shoulders, and practically leaning into each other’s laps. (Always a good time) Only a few of us knew this, but at the time Erika was around 6 weeks pregnant and we joked that the off roading would induce reeeaaalllyyy early labor LOL. (Btw yes Erika is pregnant and just announced it! Go give her some love and congratulations!

We got to the beach at around noon and parked in our favorite little spot above the small pebbly bay. We set up some chairs, stuffed spam musubis in our mouth, and lazily slapped on some sunscreen (this would bite us in the butt the next day) before heading into the crystal clear water. We don’t waste any time. 

We waded in the bay and just talked for a couple of hours. After a while, we just sat on the shore to where the waves covered our waists and skipped rocks while a couple of friends laid out, and Keanu & Abner decided to go diving! Not too long after, Abner had shot a small fish with his 3 prong spear and they got out of the water to prepare to cook it on Abner's propane camping stove. After about an hour, all the food was ready! Erika, Keanu and Travis had prepared pigs in a blanket the night before that just needed to get heated up in some foil. Abner and I brought Campbell's canned chili and a Ziploc with about 6 cups of rice in it to be cooked in a pot on the camping stove. (We're fancy, what can we say?) We sat on chairs and beach blankets to eat lunch under the keawe trees. For drinks, we brought some sodas, some *other* drinks, and TONS of water.


After lunch, we decided to walk a mile or so to the white sand beach nearby! We took tons of photos of Adrianne in her Avel Bacudio custom designed engagement dress and I squealed the entire time because that dress (and Adrianne) is STUNNING. I can't share the photos, but just follow Adrianne and Dion to see them!

Photo by  Travis

Photo by Travis


After the shoot, Travis flew his drone and distracted a woman on her kayak, causing her to fall off. She was fine and got back on, but it was so hard for us to contain our laughter.

We walked back just before golden hour started, and we packed up and headed out of the beach. 

However, there is a dirt trail right off of the beach trail that leads up a hill. (I now know that said hill is actually called Pu'u Ali'i) On the way out, we decided to see if we could drive up. The view was AMAZING! Well, at least the view halfway up was amazing... Since it is so dry out on that side of the island, the dirt was incredibly loose, causing the cars to slip and bounce, making it nearly impossible to drive up safely. After a few tries, we all decided that it would be best to go back down. Mind you, we were halfway up and there was no room to turn around, so when I say "go back down", I really mean "reverse all the way down." Adrianne and I got so nervous that we had to get out of the car and walk down instead. We took some pics & video footage there too! (What can I say, Travis is a videographer and Dion is a professional fashion photographer) PS HUGE thanks to Travis for letting me borrow his camera for the day!

Photo by  Travis

Photo by Travis


We got to the top of the road before sunset and said our "see ya later"s. Our Philly friends jumped in their car and headed back to Hilo. Erika, Keanu, Travis, Abner and I decided to stop in Waikoloa for some ice cream and a rinse-off in A-bay's beach showers. (Makalawena does not have showers of any kind... heck, there isn't even a road lol) We spent about an hour or so there at the shopping center, eating dessert with our dinners. Then, we went home.

It's funny how adventures work- in reality, they're so physically exhausting. But at the end of the day, your tired eyes and hurting feet and burning skin make you smile, thinking about how fulfilled your soul feels.

I can't wait to share more adventures with you!