We went to the
The road to our apartment is an old lava field! Some of the land has been cleared as there are hundreds of papaya trees on either side.
Want to buy some real estate in an old lava flow (from 1960)? Another road in the Pahoa area is filled with chunky volcanic road and had this sign about land for sale.
Our studio apartment is on the first floor of a house. Here, having resident geckos is good luck.
What we noticed first was the coquis (frogs) that have “invaded” the
Day 2, Sunday, Nov. 4. We headed straight to the
The current eruption, Pu’u ‘O’o, has been flowing in a remote area since 1983 and has created a lava tube that can only be seen well from a helicopter or plane. We were told that you could see the glow of the current it from a Ranger’s scope at the end of a 1 mile hike. Before we got to the Ranger a couple of hours later two things happened: it started raining and someone told us that because of the clouds they couldn’t see anything. So we turned back, sopping wet from our raincoats on down. We’ll try another day. Two pictures of a lava flow.
It was really pouring. We decided to just drive around the crater but only stopped at the
The rain had pretty much stopped when we got back but we found a big puddle in the apartment. Not fun! We cleaned it up and hoped for no more rain this week.
Day 3, Monday, Nov. 5. Yeah, blue sky and sunshine! On the way to the Volcanoes park,
Devastation Trail took us past the blown lava from the 1959 eruption that changed the road. A few plants and trees have started to grow but not many. We did see one wild orchid.
The Kilauea Caldera is huge with steam vents all over. Sometimes the air quality isn’t good because of the sulfur dioxide coming out of the vents.
We saw cool tree molds formed when the lava wrapped around trees and they just burnt up and decomposed.
We love the shape of these monkeypod trees found on all the
Day 4, Tuesday, Nov. 6. We’re learning so much about volcanoes and how much elevation affects the weather here. You can pretty much count on nice weather in the morning but by late morning on it’s a toss up. We tried to get a good hike in everyday but it didn’t always work out. (Did I tell you it’s an hour drive each way to the park? The apartment rental info said 45 minutes.)
First we took a Ranger-led walk through the fern forest. We learned a few more things and enjoyed our conversation with a couple who were weavers and had homes in
Then we drove 11 miles up
We were lucky this afternoon to just have mist on the first part of our 3.6 mile hike on the Ka’u Desert Trail off Hwy. 11 out of the park. It usually is hot and dry. It had amazing landscape. We walked on ash or smooth lava flows (pahoehoe). Here and there ohi’a or other plants had started to grow. The ohi’a is the first plant to root itself on hardened lava. The red on the lava is oxidized iron.
We went to a nearby town for dinner and then back to the park for a presentation by a PhD student in Volcanology. She had a slide show about the Kapoho rift eruption in 1959-1960 when the lava flowed to Kapoho where our apartment is (where the land is now for sale). She had broken down the flow into 16 separate episodes and was doing some kind of research which we’ve already forgotten. Interesting but a little too detailed.
Day 5, Wednesday, Nov. 7. Again it was sunny when we started off and even when we got to the park but the weather deteriorated as the morning went on.
The ranger we had met yesterday suggested we go on the afternoon ranger-led walk to Mauna Ulu. So, we decided to drive down Chain of Craters Road that goes to the ocean where the flows from 1986 to the present covered over the road. The road used to go from the southeast side up to the park but no longer. It was a very interesting drive. Here are some of the sights: different lava flows (chunky and smooth), fog rolling in, and the view to the ocean.
We had great hope that the storm was just at the coast but it ended up following us up the mountain! Our afternoon hike was in the rain and it was greatly shortened because of the accompanying thunder and lightning. But we still learned a number of things from a geology trained ranger. Here is a rift that opened and lava spewed up lava in 1983. The mushroom shaped thing is called a lava tree. The lava flow wrapped around a tree and then future eruptions spewed ash on top.
(Posted at a McDonald's in downtown Hilo. 2 hours for $2.95. The one different thing on the menu is instead of an apple pie they have a coconut pie called haupia.)