Day 5 – Lava! Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Down a hundred miles of curvy, very low speed limit roads, we arrived in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park just before lunch time. The volcano was very active, we were told, spewing lava sixty feet into the air. The Jaggar Observatory was a great spot to watch the lava. While there’s an official overlook down the road, but standing there one could only see the steam from the crater.

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We picnicked at the official picnic area, at the overlook, that had only a few picnic tables that were already taken. We ate sitting on the sidewalk and in the back of our cars, fighting the wind.

From lunch, we headed to the Thurston lava tubes. The hike was short, and the tube shorter, as part of the tube was closed for some sort of construction.

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Next, we took the Kilauea Iki trail into the crater. The descend was easier than the hike the day before. The crater had a couple of steam vents, which we heard weren’t natural, but were created when scientists drilled down to see how deep the crust was.

The “kids” took the long way across and out of the crater in a four mile hike. The views from the back side of the hike were amazing  – especially the point where we could see both craters at the same time. We caught up with the rest of our group down at the sea arch, where we caught a glimpse of the lava flow hitting the ocean. However, due to the 11 mile round trip hike that it would take to see it up close (well, no less than 1/2 mile away from the flow for safety), we turned back to the city of Volcano for dinner.

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We stopped back by the park before heading home to see the volcano at night.

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The drive back was brutal – two hours in the dark down winding roads after a long, tiring day. We luckily made it back close to 10 pm, the latest we had stayed out all week.

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