First, we headed towards the overlook of Halema'uma'u Crater. Inside the crater was where the top of a cone had collapsed. So way deep down in there, there was some lava brewing. [Does lava brew?]
This crater was deep down in a canyon, the Kilauea Caldera. We're standing on the ledge of the caldera looking down into it that holds the crater. And all along the ledge of the caldera was Wahinekapu or steam vents. Below is a picture of steam coming from the side of the caldera.
The park had about fifty different climates. Hot. Cold. Rainy. Dry. Humid. Windy. Foggy. Clear. Seriously, each time we got out of the car, we had no idea what to expect. So as the pictures progress, you'll see we shed layers of clothes.
Just past the caldera was another open view of the crater/brewing-lava-hole and the Jagger Museum. The museum was named after the guy who came up with volcanology, and it housed a lot of information about volcanoes, lava, and seismic activity.
Kyler was really into reading every bit of information in the museum. I, being the more visual learner in the group, was drawn towards the more interactive sections of the museum. Below is a seismic meter reader [not the technical name].
It reads any movement in the earth, usually earthquakes, that could lead to a volcanic eruption around these parts. See that little blue blurb on the line to the farthest right above? That was me jumping, but once Kyler saw what I was doing, he thought he should come over and put me to shame.
Well done, my love. You are better than me.
Then we were back in the car to travel to the other side of the park.
Onto Chain of Craters Road. We took a turn to go to the Hilina Pali Overlook. Even though we had no idea what was at the end, we thought we'd try it out. After nine miles of twisting and turning, this is what we found:
...a sign. Okay, back to Chain of Craters Road. Our helpful guide at the visitor center told us to take the hike up to the overlook to check out the Pu'u Huluhulu Cinder Cone and Mauna Ulu Shield. Yeah, I'll have to study those names for another hour or so before I can say them out loud.
First, we saw this fissure in the gound.
Then we hiked up, up, up, and then a really steep up to reach the top of a mount. The view was incredible even though the photo doesn't do it justice. In the photo below, we're very high up even though we look like we're standing on the ground.
After that long walk, we decided to travel to the end of Chain of Craters Road where the lava actually crossed the road. Along the way, we saw this sign.
Does that really say what I think it says?
What exactly are they mowing!?
A quick stop at another over look. Freezing cold. We ran to the end of the viewing deck, snapped a photo, and ran back to the car.
Just a couple miles down the same road, we stopped at another overlook. This time it was a bit rainy, but the temperature was probably ten degrees higher. Much better!
Then we got to the end of the road. We were standing right on the edge of the rock, where the lava had hit the ocean.
We walked down to where the lava had crossed the road. Where do we go from here?
Good thing Kyler had already put a ring on it because with that outfit, I was definitely turning heads...just kidding. Kyler made fun of me all day once I changed out of my jeans. I had brought shorts to change into, but it never crossed my mind that I only had high socks. Oh well.
Kyler reluctantly taking a picture with me in my stylish attire. [Not that he has any room to talk...wearing black and blue?]
Kyler voyaged out beyond the beaten path to grab these awesome photos.
The sea arch.
This was our view on the drive back up the road. The dark brown streaks are the most recent lava flows (maybe 2007?).
Then we left the park to eat lunch. It was yummy, and the lady gave us free refills on our Pepsi. Score! And when we came back in, we hit up the sites we had saved for last. The Thurston Lava Tube and the Kilauea Iki Crater hike. Because in this area of the park it was very damp, we saved it for last because we knew we'd be soaked after walking through a cave and across a rainy lava lake.
Here I am going into the first cave (just a bit chilly):
And inside the
That lava tube was nice and well-lit through its entirety. The next lava tube, we had to break out the flashlights. I saw a sign on the gate that told its distance, and told Kyler it was only 344 feet. After walking and walking and walking and then walking back out, Kyler saw on the gate that it said 344 meters. Woops.
It was very damp inside that cave. Good thing I look good in yellow :)
Then we headed over to the old lava lake. The sign at the entrance said it was a four-mile round trip. Immediately on the trail, we made a steep descent. Then we got to the bottom of the lava lake. At one time, this huge expanse of "lake" was filled with lava...hence the name.
Entering the lava lake:
There were no signs pointing which way we should go, but someone had ever-so-nicely stacked rocks to mark the roundabout path we should take. Sometimes the rock stacks were very clear, but when you're hiking through a land of a gazillion rocks, sometimes we just had to guess. And when we got to a point where we didn't see any rocks, we had to turn around and look for different piles of rocks. Very technical directions, I know.
Eventually, we made our way back out and back up the mountain. And we could see other people walking where we'd just been. Here is a photo from our view at the top, completely zoomed out, and you can see those teeny tiny little people down there to get an idea of how much climbing we did.
Then we left to eat
And that was our final night in Hawaii.