Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hawaii Photos #6: Volcanoes National Park

In my head, when Chris told me we were going to Hawaii and that Courtney wanted us to hike a volcano with her and Brad, I pictured that cartoon volcano you always see with the steep slope and crumbling rim at the very top.

So I started running on my treadmill with a steep incline every day to prepare myself for the trek. Well, turns out, the active volcano in Volcanoes National Park, on the Big Island, was a little bit different. We spent a whole day exploring only a fraction of what the park had to offer. But to get to the actual volcano, we drove up most of the incline, and then hiked on mostly flat land to see the top of it. And weirdly, we were above it.

It was still pretty amazing to see, but definitely not what I pictured. When you look to the left, you see another rim (level with where we were standing) and all the steam rising out of the ground.

You can't get much closer to it than this because of the vog. There's lots of harmful gases coming out that can make it difficult to breathe if you get too close. So we enjoyed the view from here.

Here's another steam vent in the park.

Back before the late 80s, there used to be a road that went through the Volcanoes Park and lead into Kalapana village. Well, then the volcano did its thing (or as the Hawaiian's would tell you, Pele did her thing) and poof! No more road.

This is where the road ends. Bam.

Here's the part of the photo tour where we just look at pictures of Chris standing on lava rock.

I swear I didn't tell him to stand like that. It was all him.
This is a highly photographed spot for all the beautiful irony. Well, actually, it's the opposite of irony. Poetic justice? Truth? Hilarious obviousness?

A little further back up the road, there was a spot to park and hike out to see the petroglyphs, carved in the lava by ancient Polynesians. Think of it as the Hawaiian equivalent of cave paintings.

The trek out to see them was pretty rough though. No shade whatsoever. Just the sun beating down on your shoulders that under no circumstance will ever have enough sunscreen to protect them. Burn baby burn.

We also got to check out a neat little lava tube inside the park. Below, you can see Chris standing in front of the entrance. Lava tubes are formed when the lava is flowing under the surface and the rock around it hardens. Sometimes, the lava will stop flowing and empty, leaving behind these little cave-like openings that you can walk right through.

The other side of the lava tube.
Another awesome feature in the park was this sea arch. How amazing is that?

Looking up the coast.
There were craters all over the park that I believe are extinct volcanoes.

And yet another crazy feature of the Volcanoes National Park: sulphur banks. This whole area smelled like, you guessed it, sulphur! You can see the yellow patches on the ground that are a buildup of the mineral. The smoke is more steam coming up.

Here's a better shot of the sulphur. Looks a little putrid, right?

And the final spectacle this wonderous park offered us: this pretty cloud with the light shining out from behind it. Best word I can put with it: glorious.