It’s a little odd to be posting my vacation pics so long after my return, but live (and work) have intervened, and I hate to leave an incomplete travel journal, so I continue with:
One word —volcanoes.
We started the day bright and early with a trip to Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park. I give it the full title here, because our GPS was strangely unable to find it under just Volcanoes National…
OMG, let me just say—amazing. To be standing on top of one of the two still-active volcanos (well, potentially three, but Hualalai hasn’t erupted since 1901), smelling the sulfur and seeing the steam vents still steaming, feeling the heat rising from them…incredible. We took many, many pictures of the Kilauea Crater, the vents, the amazing (cooled) lava flows…and then decided that since the current volcanic activity was outside the scope of the park and not hikeable, that we would take a helicopter tour over a hot spot.
This was a first for all of us. Ty was incredibly nervous, as were we all just bit, especially after the crazy tourist flight Pete and I had taken in a small plane over the Grand Canyon years ago where we were buffeted around like a kite in a high wind. But the helicopter flight was surprisingly smooth and exciting. From both the Jagger Museum at Volcano National Park and from our pilot, we learned about the two types of lava: a’ā & pāhoehoe.
a’ā is much more jagged and rough. It’s a cooler lava and so solidifies more quickly.
pāhoehoe is a hotter flow and when it cools is smoother and often ropy in appearance.
We saw first hand what it did to the Royal Gardens subdivision, destroying it but for part of a carport that could still be seen and a portion of road, which is now, of course, inaccessible in the midst of a vast lava field. There was no flowing lava still to be seen, but we did see hot spots, like red glowing coals, among the unremitting dark of all that lava. We also saw the town of Kalapana (I think it was), which had been mostly destroyed, rebuilt and…well, you get the picture.
Because rain stopped us from seeing waterfalls as well on the flight, we then drove to Akaka State Park to see Akaka and Kahuna Falls. They were impressive (see pics), but what really blew me away was the vegetation and the sheer size and variety of it all. It looked like Jurassic Park, which was apparently filmed in Hawaii, with trees, leaves, vines and bamboo that dwarfed us in comparison. There were flowers that I couldn’t identify and had never seen anywhere else. In a word, it was magical.
We also saw our third—third!—wild mongoose. When we saw our first (at Hanauma Bay), we thought it was a light-colored ferret, but local educational materials have shown us the light. Unfortunately, mongoose are crazy-fast, and we were never able to get a pic.
On the way “home,” we stopped at Tex’s Drive-in in Honokaa, where Su got another loco moco, and we all tried their famous malasadas, square sugar-coated donuts filled with whatever you’d like. We liked chocolate and Boston cream.