Standing along lava river

Published: January 6th 2013
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Fresh lavaFresh lavaFresh lava

At the end of lava trail
Today was day to drive to Volcano National park. The drive was nice, especially with our convertible. On the way we could already see lava from many years in layers. We wanted to camp there, so we thought we should first get a spot and then head into the park. It was a smart move given that we got really delayed at night.

After setting camp, we went into the park and took the Crater rim drive. On the way we saw Lava tubes, devastation trail and numerous crater lookouts. Then we went on Chain of Craters drive which is again full of all craters. We also took a short Petroglyph trail which has some patroglyphs carved on the lava rocks. No one has been able to decipher those yet. On the way we saw some very new lava which was flowing yesterday. We also saw first view of the steams of lava and how it flows. It was amazing. We finally reached end of the road well in time. We had heard that you can see lava meeting ocean and also walk over to hot flowing lava. We were really excited about that.

It was a small walk
Fresh lavaFresh lavaFresh lava

and matching shirts :)
to place where lava drops down in the ocean. Most parts of this was closed though, so all we could see was the smoke created by it. But the view of hot back lava in blue background of water was amazing, totally breathtaking. Then we decided to trek to the fresh lava flow. This trek was not permitted, there were mostly official roped off area. But we saw tonnes of people going there, and we were told that you can go at your own risk. So the risk we took, and it was so very worth it. The trek was interesting going through coiled rope like lava which can cause cuts on touch. There was no real marked trail, there could not be because this area was literally changing by the minute. There were some pink flags that we could follow, but basically you just headed towards red lava. Finally we reached the end at view of live lava. This was the most amazing site I have seen. The fresh hot red river of lava flowing near and sometimes under your feet. We could actually see the lava river flow and then solidify on front of our eyes. It felt like you could just touch it! It was getting dark and we could not see the lava flowing on the mountain also, coming right out of the pu'o'u crater. It was awesome site. Trek back was somewhat hazardous as light had failed. We just followed people, got a bit lost, but finally found the road.

Day 4

Today we had no read hurry and yesterday was a long day. So we took time to get up. Had a nice camp breakfast. Today was day for Caldera trek. We went over to the visitor center where the hike starts. It is a long walk which we did not realize initially. It started with a short descent into the kileau caldera. Then we started walking on real lava bed, there was probably still some molten lava seathing few kilometers down that. It was interesting to see and walk into caldera, almost adventurous and feeling riskly. At one end of caledra was Halema'uma'u crater which is suppose to be still active. What if it suddenly decided to errupt! We saw interesting lava formations. There was one which looked like a huge solidified wave or head of naagraj! There were also some
Snake head lavaSnake head lavaSnake head lava

It was lava dome with one side collapsed
small pockets from which sulphur smoke was coming out. It was really really hot, and we had no sunscreen on. Big mistake. The backs of my arm and leg were completely sunburnt by end of it. Once we reached near the crater, there were indeed signs of more activity. There were also some fresh fruit near the crater which were offering from local people who rightly feared volcano and cosidered then God.

After the trek we went back on Crater rim drive. We saw some more steam vents, Jaguar Museum, Southern Rift and some more new lava. We also took the Mauna Lua drive. There were some interesting tree molds on the way, basically lava molds of huge tree trunks. When lava flew through this area, it solidified around the tree and the wood just burnt creating molds. We walked thorugh some more patrified forest. It was quite interesting to see that there were already signed of flowers and fauna among dead lava rocks. Finally we packed our tent and headed back to Kona.

Additional photos below
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Crater in calderaCrater in caldera
Crater in caldera

This erupted after few months

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