Another Day at the Volcano

Volcano Travel Blog

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2003 Lava flow covering road
We got up bright and early to see the sunshine peaking through our curtains. Could it be? A day without rain?

Again we headed to Volcano's National Park in the hopes of actually getting out of the car. We stopped at the park headquarters to get my second stamp in my National Parks Passport and then did the Crater Rim drive in reverse to get to Chain of Craters Road faster. We zoomed down the road in the hopes of getting to the end where the lava closed the road before God decides to wring another rain cloud on our head. Luck would be on our side this time. We parked and made the half mile hike to the 2003 lava flow site. There is a trail that goes over the lava and closely follows where the road used to be. There were massive lava rocks that had broken up and road signs that were almost completely covered in lava rock.
Entrance to Thurston Lava Tube
The hike was fairly short, I would say around half a mile and was a lot of fun, I think because the sun was actually shining. There is another short trail, maybe a quarter of a mile, that takes you to the cliffs. Nothing too scenic but refreshing. As we made our way back to the road, we could see rain clouds coming in the distance. We made it about half way up the half-mile walk and then turned around to the this monsoon gaining ground on us. So, what did we do? WE RAN, like we had never ran before and made it in the car just as huge rain droplets starting pounding our windshield. At least we were dry. We looked back to see poor souls fleeing for the cover of tiny sheds and port-a-potties to ecsape the rain.

We ended our day at the park by visiting the Thurston Lava Tube. This tube runs about 500 feet and is lit for adventurous types that think walking where lava once flowed is fun.
It is actually a really neat cave. Be sure to bring a flashlight and study water-proof shoes, as there is a continuation to the lava tube that is free of human altering that can be explored.

On our way back into Hilo, we stopped off at the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory which if you don't is a cardinal Hawaiian sin. :) The gift shop offered free samples of some of their newest creations and a couple of the classics. We took the self-guided tour of the factory which is just across the road. You basically walk up the steps, and then like children passing a candy store, peer through the big windows at the workers below making the chocolates. I actually felt like I was being rude, peering through a window at them trying to make a living to support their family. I suppose they are okay with it by now though. I for one, hate macadamia's (Don't tell anyone in Hawaii that) but I did pick up some boxes to send back home. And wouldn't you know, before we made it to the car, it started raining.

Back to the hotel we go to dry ourselves off and grab a bite to eat.
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2003 Lava flow covering road
2003 Lava flow covering road
Entrance to Thurston Lava Tube
Entrance to Thurston Lava Tube
Volcano
photo by: anupa_rk