Hawaii 2012 - Day 12: Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park - Kilaueau Iki Crater Hike
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Travel Blog› entry 875 of 1090 › view all entries
Today was a day of familiar things. Our hotel was of course the first thing we already knew. But we deliberately went out for breakfast at another site from the past: Ken's House of Pancakes. This diner is really a great place to have an affordable meal in a nice atmosphere. Apart from many pancakes they serve the famous "Ken's SUMO Kombo", every time when someone orders this dish a huge gong is hit and the whole staff yells "SUMOO!" Really cool! Although, every time when I hear a gong I have to fight the urge to yell "SUMOO!"
Filled by a stack of precious Macadamia pancakes for me and strawberry pancakes for Mr. Stephan, we headed to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Established in 1916 Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park was the 11th National park to be created, and the first one in a US territory (Hawai'i only became a state in 1959).
Kilauea is impressive as a lava producer, as the youngest surface volcano of the state it is not as high as the giants Haleakala (Maui), Mauna Kea, and Mauna Loa. Its caldera is located at about 1200 meters (3900 ft) which makes it easier to explore than Haleakala. This is also the place where the park's visitor center, museum, and the majority of the trails are located. The crater road around the caldera has been closed for a long time due to the presence of the toxic Sulphur Dioxide gas (SO2), which is escaping the carter.
We looked out over the huge Kilauea caldera upon the now hardened lava fields dating back to the 1970s and 1980s, and in the distance the Halema'uma'u Crater, the steaming pit that is currently holding the 2012 lava. Then we made a small hike over the Sulphur Banks Trail. A very cool (or hot?) hike in a landscape near the caldera rim, filled with crevices from which lava heated hot steam is flowing. At some places the reddish iron rich grounds have huge deposits of yellow elemental sulphur. For me, as an inorganic chemist graduated on desulphurization, a pleasure to walk around.
Then we moved to the Kilauea Iki Crater, which is Hawaiian for "Little Kilauea Crater". This crater was filled with lava in 1959. The events were very forceful. A lava fountain of about 320 meters (1050 ft) high was a normal occurrence for several days. The fountain sometimes reached as high as 580 meters (1900 ft), much higher than the Empire State Building (of "only" 381 meter / 1250 ft). The crater has cooled down, hardened and is now accessible for hikers. Actually this was the main purpose for our visit: Finishing something we could not finish in 2009... On the 16th of August 2009 (see here) I wrote in my blog: "A beautiful trail leads along the rim and eventually down. We, unfortunately, did not have time for the latter.
The trail, the Kilauea Iki Trail, by itself is already a pleasure. It is like hiking through a jungle, but with great views into a crater. We hiked the trail in a reversed direction, so we entered the trail far away from the original eruption point. 52 years after the eruption, the rocks deep below are still so hot that rainwater seeping into the cracks flows out as steam. An impressive sight. The closer we got to the point of the original eruption, the more chaotic the scenery became. Many cracks, lava walls, and stones.
At the end of the day we returned to the big Kilauea Caldera at the Jagger Museum. A ranger had advised us to do so. The activity in the Halema'uma'u Crater is currently very high.
More pictures, and a movie, below! Deze fake-tekst heb ik toegevoegd om net iets meer regels te genereren zodat deze rare website toestaat dat de bijgesloten foto ook vertoond