Na`alehu to Volcano – 42.2 mi, 4,459’ elevation gain
After 9.2 fast miles we arrived at the black sand beach of Punalu`u. Getting out of their car was the Italian couple. We visited with them a bit. They were from Milano. On the beach we saw a hawk’s bill turtle –- la tartaruga grande! He had to be 2.5-3’ long. Quite impressive.
We headed off to begin our 27 mile climb to Volcano. We’d packed all the water we could carry, 4 bottles and a quart of Gatorade. It would prove to be enough, just barely.
The first part of the climb was 5-6%, pretty steep. After 10 miles it eased off. Now we were counting the miles until magical mile post 31 where there was water to be had. We were rationing out our water and with 6 miles to go, I started cramping. I drank much of our reserve supply to recover and we started again.
We were pretty much out of water, but only had another mile when our rear tire went flat. Yoiks! Another half hour in the sun on the open lava field while I made a hasty repair. Then we beat feet to the nearby campground with water. It never tasted so good.
We cruised over the crest at 4,024’ and on into Volcano National Park. We met another couple who was cycling around the island by themselves. They were one day ahead of us on their trip and were actually finishing in Hilo. They had stayed at many of the same B&Bs we had scheduled for the trip including My Island.
We had plenty of protein with our Thai dinner. It was exquisite. My muscles were still cramping all night, however. It wasn’t until Thursday that I was fully re-hydrated.