Watching the Big Island Get Bigger

Hawaii Travel Blog

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Umauma Falls
We decided to head to Kalapana to see the current lava flow. We left in the early afternoon and were hoping to reach the lava flow site by sunset. We had heard that there was supposed to be a great sunset at the site and that we should check out the lava flow at night. Kalapana is basically on the opposite side of the island from where we were staying so we decided to head north and stop at a few points of interest along the way.

We stopped for lunch in Waimea, a town that is known for having a permanent rain cloud hovering over it. It was sprinkling and surprisingly cold. We learned quickly that when you visit the Big Island in December you have to be prepared for every type of weather.
People have carved their names on trees near Umauma.
Sun, rain, heat, cold, wind, and even snow if you decided to head up to the top of the mountains. Yes, it snows in Hawaii, I saw it with my own eyes!

We stopped at Umauma Falls which was interesting, but it felt like we were so far back from the waterfall. I think it's on private property so they charge a $6 fee which isn't really worth it to view a waterfall from such a distance. We also stopped at Akaka Falls which was more impressive and free. You can't get to close to Akaka either, but the height of the falls and the greenery around it make for a worthwhile stop.

We continued on south through Hilo. There were several bursts of heavy rain that would start off innocently and then grow and then stop suddenly. When we reached the lava field it seemed like it was going to clear up for awhile.
Cool trees
At the lava field you can see miles and miles of dried lumpy black lava and it almost feels like you are on another planet.

We parked and headed to check out the lava flow. We saw a full rainbow in the distance and then noticed it was a double rainbow. As we walked in, a woman working let us know that the lava flow that you can get close to had just stopped flowing a couple days before. Bummer. But we could still check out the lava pouring into the ocean from a distance.

As we began to walk over there, it started pouring like crazy. I pulled out this gigantic emergency poncho my mom gave me years ago. I laughed when she gave it me, thinking I was too cool to wear it. Little did I know that a day would come when I would have such little shame. We reached the point where we could see the smoke billowing up from fresh lava pouring into the ocean. It's quite an awesome site to see... earth being created.

We stayed there for awhile watching the smoke as helicopters zoomed around it. A helicopter volcano tour would be an awesome thing to do someday. The rain was unrelenting so we decided to head back to the car. It stopped for a minute and then poured even more heavily. Even in my gigantic poncho, I was soaked. When we were almost back to the car, the sun peeped out enough for and very cool and somewhat eerie sunset with the smoke in the distance.
rotorhead85 says:
Wow, snow in Hawaii - and pine trees, never would have imagined! I'd like to see lava fields someday but would be nervous about getting too close.
Posted on: Jan 14, 2009
worldcitizen says:
There was no strong sulfur smell that day, but a couple days later I experienced that at Volcanoes National Park!
Posted on: Jan 06, 2009
vances says:
How strong was the sulfur smell --- did it make you feel like you were walking around with a pack of matches in your mouth?
Posted on: Jan 05, 2009
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Umauma Falls
Umauma Falls
People have carved their names on …
People have carved their names on…
Cool trees
Cool trees
Spiderwebs and Akaka in the distan…
Spiderwebs and Akaka in the dista…
Akaka Falls
Akaka Falls
A little waterfall near Akaka
A little waterfall near Akaka
Lava field
Lava field
Rainbow
Rainbow
Double rainbow!
Double rainbow!
Double rainbow closeup
Double rainbow closeup
Smoke from lava pouring into the o…
Smoke from lava pouring into the …
To the right, that is a Christmas …
To the right, that is a Christmas…
Santa Claus and Christmas Tree
Santa Claus and Christmas Tree
Emergency poncho to the rescue!
Emergency poncho to the rescue!
Sunset!
Sunset!
Living on a lava field. You probab…
Living on a lava field. You proba…
Hawaii
photo by: WorldXplorer