Edit Blog Post
Published: January 7th 2022
We “set sail” for Volcanoes National Park today, and it was a bright and sunny day. We went due south of Kailua-Kona along route 11, passing by our favorite snorkeling area Two Step, stopping at a few pull-offs, buying some Kona Coffee (all beans are picked by hand, hence the price) from Miranda’s, a Christian family business. We stopped at a black sand beach – evidently with very rounded lava, and saw our first 2 nene geese next to the lovely grass of a golf course.
It took us almost 4 hours to get to the National Park – once again using our “get in for free because we are old” membership card. We did about .5 mi hike to get to the Lava Tube area, and another .5 through and around it – it was quite large (8-12’ high?) and long. We spied vents here and there, and did quite a long hike (for me) of 2+ miles round trip to see into the Kilauea’s caldera, which had dropped into a deep hole but still had many boiling pots of bright red lava bubbling up. (This had only started up this September!!) Specifically it is called Halema’uma’u crater. We
spoke with a couple who pointed out that they had last viewed it from the road off in the distance that was now half-way down into the caldera!! After this we droved perhaps 1/3 of the way down the Chain of Craters road toward the sea and had our much-appreciated lunch of taro rolls with slices of cheese & tomato.
The many different lava fields were stark and dark – and we saw the difference between the 2 main kinds: smooth and jagged. We also stopped at a little park to see "tree molds." When a healthy WET tree was surrounded by hot lava - it resisted long enough for the lava to cool somewhat around it before exploding in the heat - leaving what looked like deep deep wells. The photo we took shows a tree growing again nearby. One recent flow obliterated acres and acres of healthy forest - you can see the trees in the distance.
We then tried to do some birding in a recommended park, to no avail, but the weather was delightful and the temperatures perfect.
Some people think it’s great to see the lava at night – and if it
were still pouring into the ocean, we might have been tempted. But we preferred to try to get home without too much driving at night, so we went north into Hilo, saw the Banyan Trees planted by many famous people (like FDR, Amelia Earhart), and headed for the “Saddle Road” across the center of the island. It wasn’t even dark yet when we passed Mauna Kea’s entrance road and our cinder cone hike. Our left-over Thai food tasted even better today.
Maybe it’s time for some commentary about the variety of animals we’ve seen on this trip excluding the fish: So far 19 new birds; A deer on Maui; A full-sized boar on the outskirts of Hilo!; A baby pig or boar at the top of the mountain road where we have gone birding twice; 11 mongooses; Feral goats; And of course Humpback whales.
Tot: 0.232s; Tpl: 0.021s; cc: 11; qc: 62; dbt: 0.0179s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb