Volcano National Park
Sunday, February 01, 2015
Volcano, Hawaii, United States
Today for the first time, I was the first one up
It wasn't that early by the time we made it out to the park. I used my Senior Pass to get in - the ordinary car parking fee goes for the entire week, but somehow I lost the piece of paper. We may need to get a new one tomorrow. As we got to the Visitor Center, a ranger was giving a talk on the history of the volcanoes here. There is Mauna Loa - the biggest of the volcanoes on the island of Hawaii; Mauna Kea (White Mountain) - the highest, with the observatory; and Kilauea - the active one, the steam of which can be seen from the Jagger Museum. Right now the caldera of Kilauea is closed and half of the Crater Rim Road and Trails are also closed
After the talk, we did some shopping in the gift shop. I heard an announcement of the next ranger talk on plants and invasive species so we joined that. It was a short walk to the Kilauea crater rim with another ranger - this one a young woman. She had a good spiel and we learned about the invasive ginger and the invasive Portuguese tree as well as several of the native plants like the koa tree and ohi'a, the one with the red flowers. She showed us tree ferns and some other ferns too and we got to look at the crater floor from the rim, or would have been able to see it, if it hadn't started raining....at one point hard enough to get quite wet. Kara was lucky I bought her a Volcano National Park poncho so we only got our legs and shoes wet. By the end of the walk, it was noonish. As we started to talk about lunch, or maybe it was this morning, we realized we left most of our dry food - all the granola bars, the packs of trail mix, crackers and some of my orange utensils at the Hilton. Alas, lunch would be skimpy....it turned out to be some of the last remaining trail mix we had.
We decided to do one of the walks - after having one of the rangers give us options and recommendations: the Kilauea Iki Trail
The trail went through the forest in the beginning and had quite a number of switchbacks as it made its way to the Kilauea Iki crater floor
At one point, I thought I made the wrong choice. We chose the longer option - the Halema'uma'u Trail and at first it seemed like a nice little trail through the forest
I persuaded Kara to drive to the Steam Vents down the road toward the Jagger Museum and we got to see and smell and feel the warm, sweet air rising up from the Kilauea caldera somewhere. The whole area was surrounded by steam vents - on both sides of the road. In the field in between there were lots of those bamboo orchids - on tall stems. We had seen a few of them before on the various trails.
After the vents we headed for our house where Kara prepared our packaged ramen noodle soups and our steamed broccoli while I organized and unpacked (I think). We had a nice meal and then headed out again to see the Kilauea blazing orange steam in the dark from the Jagger Museum lookout. It was nice but we couldn't really see lots of hot, molten lava. Alas. We returned to the house for showers, uploading photos, blogging and watching people buy beach houses in the Caribbean on TV. Kara is already asleep. I am finished here and need to shower. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten to my postcards which I had intended to do tonight. It's almost 11 pm so it will have to wait until tomorrow.