September 17th, 2006 – by: gentry591
bottom of Halemaumau caldron
We spent our first night on Hawaii, HI at a very nice B&B called Country Goose. Are very good sites on the internet for B&B's in Hawaii. The owner also has some rental houses and everyone meets at her house between 7:00 and 8:30 for a great breakfast.
We left after breakfast for Volcanoe National park which was just 10 min. away. On the way over we stopped at a small convience store to buy our staples for lunch. When we travel alone we usually stay in B&B's so eat breakfast there-eat a small lunch usually an apple plus cheese-crackers and maybe some cookies then eat out that night.
there is a very nice welcome station in the park with rangers (as in most National parks) there to help orientate yoursef to where you are and give you instructions on how to get to where you want to go and give you suggestions on activities you want to do-as hikes,views ect.
the firepit of Halemaumau
Were a number of great exhibits there explaining the formation of the Hawaiin Islands (all volcanic ) They are always keeping tract of earth tremors which can give advance notice of a large erruption. There is still constant lava flows on this island . Of course the flow is downhill(often partially underground) and you can still see the lava going into the sea forming new land. This is especially dramatic at night but to really see well have to see from the air or hike 4-5 miles to the flows which to my way of thinking is more exciting.
Our plan of action was to drive arond the" crater rim drive" stopping at the Jagger museum which has even more sismatic equipment and is at the high point of the Kilauea caldera which as recent as Mark twains time still had moulted lave in it.
steam raising in caldron
Now the ground is hard and you can walk down into the caldera which still has steam coming up from seams in the floor. Is kind of dramatic to go walking on the floor of the caldera remembering that there is still an active volcano under your feet and seeing the steam rise. their is the Halema uma u crater at the bottom of the caldera which has an overlook we walked to.
After doing both of the above we continues along the rim drive to a smaller crater,KILAUEA IKI, which is inactive, as much as anything around here can be. We parked the car and walked down into the crater and across it and back out on the other side--took about 1 1/2 hours but we enjoyed it.
Not far from this crater was Thurston lava tube which is very interesting as lava tubes are basically tunnels formed by lava flowing underground.
Kilauea caldera we hiked through
Was dramatic to me as was about 1/4 mile long and had been cleaned up looked just like a tunnel that man might have built. I was really impressed until Ann and I went down into a lava tube in Oregon more than a mile long this past summer. My pictures did not turn out of this tube--sorry.
We then drove down toward the ocean on the Chain of Craters road to see were the road had been covered by the lava flow a number of years ago. About 3-4 miles of hiking over the lava will bring you to an active flow of lava into the ocean but decided to do that when the sunwent down as the colors are more dramatic at night. We drove back to the small town of valcano to eat supper.
As we drove back to town it started to cloud up so we stopped at out B&B to pick up our rain gear and flashlight we had forgotten to take with us that morning.
bottom of Kilauea caldera
Thats when we found we(maybe me) had forgotten Ann's rain gear. One of our favorate sayings when we pack for a trip to a modern country(Hawaii qualifies) if we forget something we can buy it where we are.--Hell I have forgotten my underwear before and no problem to buy some. Only problem in this case was the closest store that would have someting like rain gear was more than a hour away and would probably be closed when we got there as was 4:00 by now. Ann was not too happy with me but I remembered seeing a golf course about 5 miles down the road and figured they may have some rain clothes so we headed down there. Wow-they were having a sale and had raingear in Anns size(even a hat) so all turned out ok.
After supper we headed back to Chain of Craters rd and as we got there the rains came(and I mean rain) and the dark was even darker because moon covered.
road lava covered-can see start of flow at end of road
We took off anyway- The Nat. Park service put beacons every 1/4 mile so you do not get lost and for first mile or so were anumber of people walking so was not too bad. We were begining to see the red glow of the lava flowing off the hills and going into the sea but the rain kept getting worse and was getting harder and harder to see the becons that a lot of people turned back . After 2 miles Ann had had enough but Macho Gentry said he was going ahead and told her to go back to the last becon and wait for me. I walked another 1/2 mile before deciding Ann was the smart one as rain was getting worst and I was not seeing much more of the flow than we say when Ann turned back. Rain was getting worse too so I turned around and went back too.
Hiking toward lava flow late afternoon before rain
Let me tell you -little battery run becons become hard to see in the rain and lava flows are not the easest place to walk even in daylight but I eventually found her sitting with some others at the site I told her to wait for me and we all traveled together back to our cars. One of those time you wonder "why did we do this" but now we can look back on it as an experiance to remember and am glad we did it
If nothing eles sure did sleep well that night
I have link with a map that shows you were we went hawaii volcano maps scroll all way down for pictures and links