10 Photos in This Gallery
Volcanoes National Park is a 2.5 hour 95 mile drive from Kona, or about 40 minutes from where I was staying in Hilo. On arrival it was 59F/15C, overcast and misting. Most visitors were not dressed for the weather. The gift shop sold lots of sweatshirts that morning. After about an hour, the clouds lifted and a beautiful day followed. Kīlauea started erupting in 1983. Before the caldera was not there. It is one of only four volcanoes in the world were magma is visible from the surface. The others are in Siberia, Antarctica and Iceland nowhere near warm and sunny beaches. The Nub is a recently created formation as well. Note how small the people on the trail are for scale.
The main stop between the entrance to Volcanoes National Park and Chain of Craters Road is the Thurston Lava Tube. It just happens to be located under a rainforest. You can see only a few miles from this location in most directions the area has sparse vegetation. In the final photo children were singing a song in Hawaiian asking the gods for permission to enter the area.
The Park is not as exciting as it was 2 years ago. Lava has stopped flowing into the sea. All areas where lava is flowing on land have been closed to public access. Previously available hiking tours are out of business. Most of Crater Rim Road and the area around the caldera remain closed due to the risk of poison gas.