Volcanoes National Park

August 4, 2010 - Volcano, Hawaii, United States

 We pulled into the park and went to the visitors's center to figure out where we should check out within the park.  There were some amazing pics and videos of the volcanoes as well.  Although we were far from the volcano, we could clearly smell the sulpher in the air.  We headed in and drove down to the Thurston Lava Tube.  This was a place where the lava shot out of the earth and then receeded back leaving a tube that you could walk through.  The first part of the tube was lighted, but the second part was not and you needed to have flashlights or head lamps.  We bought both, so it was pretty cool to be able to walk down the second part of the cave.

After the Thurston Lava Tube, we continued the 20 mile drive passing various old lava flows and craters.  The road had been literall cut into the lava and at some points we were driving straight down.Just prior to a ridiculous descent Yes, our brakes worked very well.  Once we were at the bottom and where the road ended, we did a quick check of food, water and head lamps and headed in to hike to the see the lava.  The hike was like walking through a junkyard, constantly going up and over huge boulders of hardened lava.  We saw the top two feet of a road closed sign.   Here is a quick pick with the sign.  You can see the lava that we had to hike over.  We started to follow a few locals who were heading out to see the lava as well.  We ended up going slightly right and were in a section where Cheryl didn't feel comfortable and freaked out.  We could hear the ocean and I thought we felt some spray, which is NOT GOOD, considering that the new land is unstable and can break away into the ocean.  Recently a 43 acre section just broke off.  Freak out, justified.  After hiking for two hours, we could see a little pink in the distance, but it was still so far away.  We ate a romantic dinner under the stars...on lava.  There were more stars that we had ever seen in our lives.  There was no light pollution to block them out.  It was absolutely beautiful.  We tried to get some pics, but our basic digital cameras couldn't do them justice.  After Cheryl's dinner of one bite (she was too freaked out to eat) we made the executive decision to head back.  Cheryl figured that we had hiked about 2 hours and that we needed to hike back to hours to get to the car.  As we hiked back, we keept the ocean on our left and the mountain on our right, we knew that we were heading in the right direction.  After an hour and half, Cheryl looked out to the right and noticed what she thought was a tiny reflection.  It had to be a good 1/4 of a mile away.  Bryan didn't see it at first and thought Cheryl was crazy.  Cheryl decided that we needed to hike to the reflecting thing and see what it said.  As we were getting closer, Cheryl was hoping that it was either the 25mph sign or the road closed sign.  Once were got close, Bryan saw that it was in fact the Road Closed sign.  Cheryl had never been so excited in her life.  After continuing on from that point and finding some pavement within the lava, we knew we were close.  We had about 50 yards on the lava and we just about ran to the end.  Once we were on the actual road heading back to the car, Cheryl grabbed Bryan's hand and said, "I was really scared."  She did a good job of not freaking out too too much, but Bryan knew that we needed to get off the lava.

We got in the car and looked at a map and saw that there was a possibility of a lookout point to see the lava.  We drove out of Volcanoes National Park and headed back to Hilo, where we took the road to see the lava.  A 20 minute drive down brought us to the viewing point that had closed two hours earlier, at 10pm.  We parked our car and began a hike anyway.  We ran into two locals who said that the cops were closer in and writing out tickets. So we figured that we would turn around.  Considering it was already midnight, we headed back to the hotel.

Unfortunately we did not actually see the lava, but we did have a great hike out there.

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