We had been engaged for one month when we made the trip to the Big Island, Adam’s home island. As all new fiancees are, I was so excited to see the streets he walked as a kid and teenager, the house he lived in, the pictures that surrounded him, I can remember the smell most distinctly – the musky smell of mildew will always remind me of the Big Island. This island is for adventurers – we spent our days that week revisiting the explorations of his childhood. We jumped off bridges and cliffs into freshwater rivers, swung off rope swings, and kayaked with sea turtles. We walked rocky, black sand beaches, lava beds, the markets of Hilo, the gardens of his backyard. Seeing where Adam grew up and the experiences he had that all contribute to who he is now made me understand his heart and his passions better – made me love him all the more for it. This trip also unknowingly marked the First National Park we would be able to mark off our journey: Hawaii Volcano National Park.
Since it has been about 9 years since that trip, it is hard to remember all the details. But I do remember the smoky/smoggy fog that covered that valley as we drove to the park and as we looked over the crater; the pop of orange in the darkness of night, the glow of lava in the distance; sharing the audio phone as we wandered the museum; the heat of the steam vents that comes from deep within the earth. I remember falling in love just a little bit more: with a boy who loved his island, the earth and its beauty, these National Parks (even then!), and me. I remember wanting to always adventure with him by my side, taking my hand, and walking side by side.
We visited this park once more after we had been married a few years and that time we had our 18 month old son with us. We attempted a guided walking tour, and while I heard a few snippets here and there, we definitely didn’t last the whole tour with that little boy using all his willpower to get out of his stroller….I’m not sure that same little boy would be any quieter during a tour even now, at 5 years old 😉
It only makes sense that we get to call Hawaii Volcano National Park our first NP together, and who knows? Maybe we’ll come full circle and end our adventures there, too.