Friday, July 30, 2010

Lava & Rain Forests

After a fun breakfast a local place called Bear's Cafe we went to the National Volcano Park.  We viewed the volcanic gases billowing from Halema'uma'u Crater.  The hole in which you see the smoke is about 2 miles wide.  This volcano was last active in 1974.

We hiked the 4 mile Kilauea Iki Trail.  It starts at the overlook.   We are about 4,000 feet elevation here.

The trail, of all things, starts in the rain forest.  Sounds of tree frogs, bees, and wind fills the air.

Here is a little peek from the trail down into the volcano.

It's hard to see but on the left side is our little prayer rock pile.  We prayed for the people of Hawai'i to know the truth and banish all superstitions.  Notice the little plants trying to grow in the volcano rock?

After we hiked down out of the rain forest we entered the volcano.  It is 2.4 miles of hot, hard, dry volcano.  You must wear a hat to cover your hear, long pants, and boots.  Hardened lava is like shards of glass.  

This wasn't my favorite place to be, it felt so desolate and harsh.  Steam vents with HOT steam would be pluming up throughout the walk.

In stark contrast, we went through some lava tubes that were dark, damp and cool.  The caves were huge, it was hard to imagine that lava poured its way through the earth and spewed itself free!

After the long hike we drove into the Volcano Village and had a fabulous lunch at a place called Kaiwe Kitchen.  They are known for their pizza and it was delicious.

This picture below is a natural ocean thermal pond at Ahalanui Park.  The water comes in from the ocean (see that opening in the back left) and filters into this pond area that is heated from the earth.  The water was at least 90 degrees.  I so wanted to get in (bacteria warning and all) but we did not put our swimsuits in the car that day.

We visited the Volcano Winery for a wine tasting.  YUCK!  Volcanic soil grows yummy fruits but this was not good at all!
We stopped at Cape Kumukiah Lighthouse which is the eastern most point in Hawai'i and is noted for having the freshest air in the United States.  The lighthouse was lame but the air and the view were heavenly.

Our next stop was Lava Tree State Park.  Here is a picture of the jungle fowl roaming about.  This park was absolutely enchanting.  The air is so cool and the grounds so lush, it felt like something out of Alice in Wonderland.  I was going to add without all the strange stuff, but there actually is some strange stuff here...

This park has petrified trees from the last volcano eruption and sink holes throughout.  Stay on the path!!!

This was once a tree.  It was felled by the lava and petrified.  Looks like a totem poll doesn't it?

Driving down the coast we saw the castle, moat and all and you just don't see that everyday now do ya?  Crossing the road was a huge black boar and 6 little babies trailing after her.

Tonight we went to Mauna Lau where the lava is actively flowing.  Orange lava intermittenly flows throughout the mountain and around the ocean.  This is an actual neighborhood with people LIVING there.  HELLO, does that register?

As the lava moves it consumes whatever is in its path.  Bushes and trees just ignited.

Just in case you wanted some real estate... I'll bet you can get one of the houses there cheap!

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