Laukapu Forest Cottage
Laukapu* Forest Cottage (LFC) is a spacious studio, vacation-rental cottage, designed and built to accommodate one or two guests; it is located in the village of Volcano, about a seven-minute drive from the entrance to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HVNP).
Volcano Village is set in the climate zone designated as upland rain forest. Given the elevation of this village, between 3600 and 5000 feet/1097 and 1524 meters, no one has air-conditioning, but everyone has heaters. Summer daytime temperatures occasionally get as high as 80ºF/26.6ºC but, at night, can dip down to 60ºF/15.5ºC. Nighttime winter temperatures can get down to 35ºF/1.7ºC but, more often, might be around 45ºF/7.2ªC or even 50ºF/10ºC. The humidity up here often can be 95% or more, which can make the heat or chill more poignant.
Laukapu Forest Cottage is up at 3855-foot/1174-meter elevation. There is a mattress-warming pad on the cal-king bed and an infrared heater, to warm our guests, any time of the year. Like our other homes-away-from-home vacation-rental cottages, LFC has a well-equipped kitchen, with refrigerator/freezer, electric cooking range/oven, microhood, toaster, coffee making supplies (coffee machine with unbleached basket filters, coffee press, coffee-bean grinder, along with Hawai‘i-grown coffee in bags of high-octane (“regular”, caffeinated) whole-bean and already ground from Big Island Coffee Roasters, plus a bag of store-bought already-ground decaffeinated coffee. LFC has a private bathroom, with a large tiled shower, a medicine cabinet and under-sink cabinet, both well stocked, including a hand-held electric hair blow-dryer, extra toilet paper, towels, shampoo and conditioner, and first-aid supplies.
There are armchairs and a low table, from which our guests can watch cable TV or connect to the smart 43”/109cm LCD TV with a smart phone or tablet computer; there is a phone in the cottage, which our guests may use for local calls, anywhere on this island. There is high-speed Wi-Fi; a password is supplied in the information binder, which will also help our guests find places to dine out (Volcano Village has seven eateries/cafés/restaurants, and there are several more up in the Park) by looking at the village map, showing their locations, as well as those for the general stores and galleries, and by looking through the sample menus. There are books about the volcanoes and birds and also trail-guide booklets and maps of the Park and the island, in the cottage, as well. The desk alcove is a nice spot from which to look out at the forest, while getting online, sending e-mails, or writing postcards (which can be hand-cancelled at the Volcano Village post office, which also sells a variety of stamps and greeting cards).
The “back-front” porch, approached from the 70-foot-/21-meter-long covered “Walkway of the 1,000 Peaces”, at the base of which guests have their own parking space, is very private, being at the backside of this cottage, set well back from the lane, which, happily, has very little traffic. This is a quiet area, which enjoys the native birds’ songs, when they are in this part of the forest; they migrate up the mountain, following the lehua blossoms’ pattern of blooming, up, then, back down Maunaloa (the old spelling of that name), which means “Mountain-long”, which looms over Volcano and the summit area of Kīlauea caldera. At night, our guests might hear the endemic crickets as a low background noise; rain makes its own kind of music. The native Hawaiians have about as many names for the different types of rain, here, as the native Alaskans do for snow and ice. On the back-front porch, there is a comfortable armchair and also a table with a built-in bench and a freestanding bench, all handcrafted by the same Heartist, who built this cottage, which is truly a “Work of Heart”.
*Laukapu, in the Hawaiian language, translates as “Leaf /Frond-sacred/forbidden”).