Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Big Island - Volcanoes National Park

Our visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was one of the most fascinating things we did on our trip. These are some shots of the volcano taken in the daylight. It was mid afternoon when we arrived at the volcano, and the guide from our rain forest hike told us that we needed to see the volcano during the day and at night.

James and I are standing in the same spot in these photos. It was incredible to see the steam rising from the earth.

We saw a bunch of steam vents.
These little orchids were growing all over the place.
Sulfur crystals.
There is a rainforest within the National Park.
We got to walk through the Thurston Lava Tube. Lava tubes are a type of lava cave formed when an active low-viscosity lava flow develops a continuous and hard crust, which thickens and forms a roof above the still-flowing lava stream. Tubes form in one of two ways: by the crusting over of lava channels, and from pahoehoe (Hawaiian word meaning smooth or unbroken) flows where the lava is moving under the surface.
This pheasant was kind enough to stop and pose for me.
We got to see these Nene Goose, which are the state bird of Hawaii. These are endangered, and the park rangers stop traffic whenever they see them crossing the roads.
We drove down the Chain of Craters Road, where we saw the remnants of a beach that was covered by lava flow several years ago. The coconuts are the only indication left of the beach now.
At the very end of the Chain of Craters Road, you get to an area where hardened lava covers the road. It was well past sunset when we got there, so my photos don't really do this scene justice.  James took some video. He began taking the video soon after we parked our car. The road is closed off to traffic after the parking area, and you have to walk about half a mile to get to the lava. We could see a street sign in the distance that had almost been consumed by the lava, James walked out to see what it said.  Listen for it in the video.
Here's the video:

We ate dinner at Kilauea Lodge and Restaurant. I had called earlier in the evening for reservations, and I'm glad I did. This place was busy. The owner/chef used to be the make up artist for Magnum P.I.  He spent time in Europe learning how to cook & and boy can he cook. This was one of the best meals I had on the trip.  
 The lodge used to be a Boy Scout Camp, and this fireplace was constructed during the early days of the lodge. It is called the "International Fireplace of Friendship." It has stone in from all over the world.

 Delicious homemade bread.
 Our appetizer was Brie Cheese coated in an herb batter and coconut flakes and lightly fried. Served with papaya salsa, brandied apples and three grain mini-loaf.
 I had the Safari Schnitzel. This was my first time to have antelope. Very good.
 Their menu changes on a daily basis.
After dinner, we drove back to the National Park so we could get a view of the volcano at night. This was awesome! It was getting chilly and beginning to rain, so I put on a jacket that I'd purchased at the gift shop.
I was glad I had brought my tripod. I set it up & had some fun taking some shots at a long exposure.  This is one of my favorite photos from the trip. It is no wonder the guide had told us that we needed to make sure to see the volcano at night too!

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