Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Big Island Lava Adventure

(To see how to get to the lava without having to pay for someone to take you, Click the following link to see my article out about how we got there, also pictures of lava flowing into the ocean!) Lava Flowing in the Ocean-our Local adventure)

So sorry for the lack in updating my blog lately, I haven't really felt a huge need to update BUT .. My husband and I are BACK on the Big Island again, same apartment too!

One of the things that was on our bucket list, that didn't get checked off last time we lived here, was to see live flowing lava. We were slightly disappointed that Volcano National park isn't actually a place to see live active lava, more so a live museum of flows from the past.

On the map above, on the southeast portion, You can see the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Part of the park, Chain of Craters Road, will take you all the way down to the ocean where a past lava flow has entered the water.  The part where the box says "Road Closed" is where active Lava flow has actually flown over the road and is no longer drivable.

 That road used to be the main way to what used to be Kalapana and Kaimu black sand beach. The city of Kalapana used to be home to the historic Kalapana gardens. This was the home to many generations of Hawaiians and Tahitians that were descendents of the first generations that landed on this side of the island. They settled and raised family here. Sadly out of that subdivision there is one house still standing.

My husband and I really wanted to see live lava flow so, we decided to hike from the Volcano National Park side (west) driving to the end of chain of craters road however, it was not a successful hike. We enlisted the help of a few other traveling nurses but I'm afraid instead of lava we gave them sore legs and exhaustion. We ended up hiking 4 hours round trip, about 8-12 miles, not sure. We got to the point where the sun was setting and we could see the red lava on the hills but there was a huge rain storm starting to pour on us. So, sadly we ended up hiking the 2 hours back defeated.

After much needed rest (and a week or two later) we decided to try to find the lava from the east side of the road. We drove through Pahoa down to the dead end street, before Kalapana.We were greeted with restricted access signs, government workers (monitors) and another dead end. We finally gave up, did some research, and signed up for a tour. We hated spending the money, But, it was worth it.

We booked a tour through: 
Kalapana Cultural Tours

We were undecided which tour to take. There are 2 tours, one that leaves at 4pm and one at 5pm. We wanted to see the lava flow at night but didn't want to be hiking the entire time in the dark (hiking on mountainous lava rock is hard, but doing it in the dark with only a tiny flashlight is even harder) We were very happy our choice of the 4pm tour.

This picture does a great job showing what kind of rock we were climbing over sometimes.

We saw some pretty awesome sites along our way to finding lava

We found our first lava!
Our guide was pretty awesome. He said he wasn't very happy with this lava and went off to find us something more impressive

After another 5 minute walk we found a river bed of lava and was able to watch it flow faster and faster by the minute

We had an amazing time! A great memory we will never forgot!

Hiking back was pretty crazy! We were walking on newly cooled lava that was flowing yesterday. So it was still pretty hot to walk over and you could see the red lava flowing what was already cooled. Past that was still pretty new and fragile rock, pretty loose and thin stuff.

We were amazed with the sight and had a great time! We hope if you ever get a chance to visit the Big Island we definitely  recommend this tour!