Volcano National Park (the Hilo stop)


rain makes for rainbows on arrival

rain makes for rainbows on arrival

I am sure that when the verbiage was written at the Hawaiian National Volcano park about Kilauea being the world’s most active volcano it was probably true. Never mind about Stromboli’s lava flows every 8-15 minutes down the side of the mountain or current activity in Iceland. It was true at the time I am sure. The same way the brochures all also mention that Mauna Loa stands 56,000 feet (17,000 meters) tall …. as measured from the ocean floor. I was so good, I did not mention the fact that the mouton is about the same height as Pike’s Peak in reality since no one starts the climb from the ocean floor. What you see is what you have – so I really don’t count it as 8230 m taller than Mount Everest.

Took the ship’s tour (my only for the trip) because we were headed about an hour out of Hilo. Headed to Kilauea iki (little Kilauea). Instead of dozens on the bus, the company took the ~ 36 who had signed up for hiking the crater into three van’s worth. Our driver/guide was a Navy vet who moved to Hawaii in 1995 because he could find work and afford land (unlike Southern California).

In any case, first we first stopped at the Thurston Lava Tube


before heading long the rim of the Kilauea Iki Crater. From the rim we descended to the floor of the crater, hiked across then back up the side. About 6,4 km all told down slippery rocks, trails and switchbacks to the floor (which was steaming in a few places with charred recent local plant life in evidence) then back up to the van (more switch backs). The Hawaiian volcanic lava is not glass basalt. It is extremely porous but still quite sharp around the edges.

We waited till the Jaggar Museum for a lunch stop and took a look at the Kilauea Caldera. Given either luck or safety, the area has been quiet for the last several weeks so I have photos, but they certainly don’t show red, bubbling lava.

Next stop was Rainbow Falls (being the shorter drive from the ship to the original waterfall intended) followed by a drive to a black sand beach (never did see the sand – mostly rocks) where a sneering mongoose high tailed it across the rocks faster than anyone could lift a camera.

Back to the ship in enough time to get safely boarded, we did a sail by of Mount Kilauea about 2230 which resulted in pictures similar to what I have for Stomboli (little red dots on the darkness made a bit more stable by use of a tripod.

Photos when I can actually upload at reasonable speed.

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