After lunch today, I took the boys to the Scout Shop to pick up a few things, and then we went up the scenic drive up around Round Top Drive and down Tantalus Drive. I highly recommend checking out this scenic drive if you're touring the island. If you have someone in the car with you who has a weak stomach and isn't able to handle all the switchbacks on the windy road up to the top, then you should at least go to the Puu Ualakaa State Park.
This is the park entrance for the pictures that follow.
There's a little parking lot for five or so cars, and this little walkway leads out out to the scenic overlook.
There's a spectacular view of Diamond Head and Waikiki to the south.
The view to the west was also really amazing. I was trying to pick out details of the airport and Pearl Harbor and totally missed what a unique perspective this was of the Punchbowl Cemetery. If you zoom in just above the treeline, you see this:
Here you can see that road that spirals up the outside of the crater. You can see all the grass of the cemetery inside the crater, and you can see the white stone structure where the steps lead up to the maps of the war in the Pacific.
Of course, why do I take the boys exploring anywhere on the island? Yes, there was a geocache in the park. I spotted it first, but stood back and allowed the boys to find it.
This is the "Strangled Palm." I've never seen anything like it. I don't know if you can see it in this picture, but the first six feet or so of this palm tree was totally wrapped by this other tree.
Here we are walking back up to the scenic overlook after finding the geocache.
Continuing the counterclockwise circuit took us much further UP hill. The highest point and best view of the drive is in a short stretch of road where it's a single lane and you have to take turns allowing cars to pull through either direction. Because of the other cars waiting to get through, I didn't stop and take any pictures there.
Along the road, you will pass several small parking areas and several marked trail heads (that lead to many more geocaches :-) ).
If you do take this scenic drive, then please be careful. There are a lot of hikers and bicyclists on the narrow, winding 2-lane road. Yes, yes, they're all totally NUTS for even trying it, but still... Don't be surprised when you come around one of those sharp corners and find an out-of-breath bicyclist right smack in front of you.