The Beauty Around Us

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Our Hawaiian Vacation: Sixth Stop of Two Day Circle Tour

This post continues details of our two-day circular driving tour of the island of Hawaii, which we began on our ninth day in Hawaii (May 25th). Our first stop was at South Point.  Our next three stops were in the towns of Waiohinu and Naalehu. Our fifth stop of the day was at Punalu’u Beach Park, near the town of Pahala. All five of these stops were in the South Island region. Our sixth stop was at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

 

From Panalu’u Beach Park we continued eastward on Highway 11 to the entrance to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The park is home to two volcanoes — Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Kilauea is the world’s most active volcano. Kilauea began erupting in 1983 and hasn’t stopped since. Mauna Loa is the world’s most massive volcano. Mauna Loa is an active volcano as well; however, it is more quiet than Kilauea. Mauna Loa’s last eruption was in 1984.

havosummitarea
While at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, we visited only the Kilauea Summit area, which is displayed in the map shown above. We made a few stops along Crater Rim Drive and one stop along Chain of Craters Road.

We stopped briefly at the Kilauea Visitor Center. We looked inside and opted not to stay, as it was very busy.

D5253620 4x6Kilauea Visitor Center

Continuing past the Kilauea Visitor Center we drove on Crater Rim Drive to the Jaggar Museum. Inside the museum are interesting exhibits, such as seismographs that measure earthquake activity. The seismographs showed some activity while we were there.

D5253636 4x6Seismograph

Most of our time at Jaggar Museum, though, was spent outside looking at the view from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

D5253622 4x6Halemaumau Crater inside Kilauea Caldera

This view is from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory at the Jaggar Museum. The white smoke that you see coming from the crater is sulfur dioxide.

The Jaggar Museum was the end of the road for us on Crater Rim Drive. When departing the museum we followed Crater Rim Drive back towards the Visitor Center. We stopped at the Steam Vents. Rain that has seeped into the ground is heated by Kilauea and emerges as steam. The amount of steam varies daily depending on how much it has rained in the past few days.

D5253642 4x6Bob is peering into one of two steam vents located in parking lot.

We followed a short trail toward the crater rim, where we saw more steam vents.

D5253643 4x6

More steam vents at crater rim

D5253653 4x6

From Steam Vents we passed by the Visitor Center and continued on Crater Rim Drive to the Kilauea Iki Overlook.

D5253655 4x6Kilauea Iki Overlook

Just past the Kilauea Iki Overlook is Thurston Lava Tube. The lava tube was created from a river of hot lava running through cooler lava.

D5253657 4x6Entrance to Thurston Lava Tube

D5253659 4x6I read that undisturbed lava tubes have floors that are littered with rocks. Thurston Lava Tube has been cleaned up and lighted to make it easy to visit.

D5253665 4x6When you exit Thurston Lava Tube, you enter a tropical forest.

From Thurston Lava Tube we drove to Chain of Craters Road. We made one stop, at Puhimau Crater Overlook, while on Chain of Craters Road.

D5253671-D5253675Bob at Puhimau Crater Overlook

We had hoped to see lava flowing into the ocean, while at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. New lava, however, covered the parking lot run by the park service. The park will have to negotiate with other private landowners to create a new parking area or more likely will wait for a few months until the lava flow moves and cools so they can rebuild the access road and parking area on the old location. The only way to see the lava entering the ocean was by boat, which would have cost approximately $150 each. We could have parked and walked one mile to the end of the newly lava covered road. We would have seen steam plumes from the distant ocean entries. We opted not to walk to see only steam plumes.

Next stop – Lava Tree State Park

10 Responses to “Our Hawaiian Vacation: Sixth Stop of Two Day Circle Tour”

  1. Ciss B

    Love the pictures! People have told us that there are sometimes min-earthquakes around an active volcano sometimes, did you experience that phenomenon?

    Reply
  2. Scott

    I think it is so nice that you filled your time there with so many good experiences and took the photos to help you remember the details. Great job.

    Reply
  3. Betsy from Tennessee

    Oh how interesting, Linda…. Going through the lava tube had to have been kinda spooky…. I too would have loved to have seen the lava flowing into the ocean…Are they ever afraid that either of those volcanoes would erupt BIGTIME –and damage alot of the area???? Guess not…So interesting… Thanks for sharing.HugsBetsy

    Reply
  4. eileeninmd

    Great tour of the Volcano Nat'l park. I remember hgoing thru the lava tube. What a cool place. Great photos, Linda!

    Reply
  5. Elena

    That was very interesting! Your Hawaiian posts have been so interesting and educaitonal. Thank you Linda for sharing them!

    Reply
  6. Lorraina

    i also remember some of what you saw but not all and some things have been upgraded since then like lights in Thurstons lava tube. My dh did not like going thru that tube at all or breathing the smelly steam vent….he can be such a sissy sometimes, lol.

    Reply
  7. Rose

    I find this very interesting…I wonder if the people that live there all the time ever worry about big erruptions….I think I would be okay with visiting, but don't think I would like to live there.

    Reply

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