Hawaii:Kilauea,Pu u oo and red hot lava
When we drove up to the summit of Kilauea it all seemed a bit flat. The road just went on and on. At the visitor centre we picked some leaflets,watched the film and asked about going to see the flowing lava.Apparently people go at dusk and walk back in the dark with a torch!Then off to the Crater Rim Hotel that sits perched on the edge of the Kilauea crater. It was all quite basic and a bit threadbare but was ok and the locaton was perfect for exploring the Volcano National Park.
Next day we decided to go round the crater rim and then down to the lava later in the afternoon. First stop the steaming cliffs and a view over the crater and then onto the Jaggar museum.Lots of Geoloical stuff to look at here and we could smell the sulphur.
We followed the road round to the SW rift, a big gash in the lava that just seemed to go on and on.Next round to the Halemaumau crater which used to contain a lava lake in the early 1900s.The crater sits within the floor of the main Kilauea caldera.There were offerings of food to pele the Hawaiin Goddess of the volcano.We then wandered out into the lava landscape of the main caldera.Black and red lava ridges and flows some only a few decades old.Quite disorientating and exposed in the hot sun.
Next stop the Kilauea Iki crater overlook the small crater had a lava lake and fountains of lava in . We picked up a tour with a sugarsweet ranger and then walked through the Thurston lava tube. All very friendly and tame.
We headed off down the chain of craters road over numerous lava flows until we descended a zig zag road down to the sea. We parked where everybody else had and walked past the NP van to where the lava had crossed the road.Walking on the lava is quite easy as it as smooth pahoehoe but there were holes so we had to watch our step. We followed yellow markers until they ran out and then the straggle of other lava seekers towards the steam. Some of the flows looked very fresh and the ground was quite hot. We later realised we were walking over the roofs of still flowing lava tubes.
Finally there it was bright orange lava flowing into the sea. As a wave came up it would chill the flow and then it would break through again. Bits fell of and the steam rose it was really beautiful and mesmorising.We decided not to stay after dark as it seemed quite hazadous to walk back in the dark. As we arrived back at the car we gave our unused torch to another couple just setting out in the dark without one!
The next day we took a flight from Hilo in a very hot small plane over the Pu oo oo vent. We saw red hot glows coming from the vents, lots of steam and numerous lava flows.