Walking on the crater

I have to acknowledge that I didn’t study well for this trip as I still don’t know the names of the most famous volcanoes in the park. To my defense, their names are kind of super complicated… Lots of vowels with very few consonants.

Anyways, on our second day in the park we decided to do an easy hike to Kilauea Iki (correct spelling courtesy of Matt’s amazing memory), a volcano that eruptedĀ 60 years ago.

As we started the hike outside the crater, I was again amused by local flora. Multiple variations of fern, in particular.

But there were other cute plants around to admire. For example, Lehua blossom of Ohia tree (I sound very knowledgeable, but I just googled “Hawaii red flower volcano” to get its name LOL)

This one is still unknown to me…

The we descended into the crater itself. Mesmerizing!

Holes in the rocks were the reminders of gases fuming through molten lava during eruption.

The surface right around the eruption spot looked like a broken chocolate bar…

The eruption place itself was a huge crack in the Earth with some steam coming out in a few places. Yep, the rocks underneath are still hot, 60 years later! Rain water hits those rocks and evaporates.

After we were done exploring the crater, we walked to a nearby lava tube. I’ve never heard of those before visiting Hawaii… Basically, as far as I understood, when molten lava flows, sometimes its top layer solidifies first forming a tube. Then the remaining lava drains out of the tube and you get to walk through it 500 years later. One guide mentioned to us that there were around 50 lava tubes on Big Island, but don’t quote me on that.

The rest of the day, we kept driving around the park exploring different craters, lava fields, weird plants and even some petroglyphs.

Still, we covered only a small portion of the park. But the next day we had a new adventure prepared.

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