Sunday, April 28, 2013

Big Island Lava Adventure- Part 2, Local Style

 I had been hesitant of posting this actual..story. But I figured, with as many hits as I got on my last post, the 2nd (actually 4th attempt to see lava ) I figured those that are as equally cheap, as I am....Would appreciate this post.

By the 4th attempt out to the lava, prices for the tours went up from $80 (Kama'aina rate (local) ) to $100, tourists $150. It was really flowing into the ocean this time, SO... after getting advice from a friend we discovered a different access point..

NOW this may/may not work depending on where the lava is actually flowing. BUT, this is how we got to see the lava on our own...

TIP #1 decide when you want to go. Honestly the best time to actually view the lava is around sunset.. seeing it flow at night is amazing. It took us 2 hours to get out, 2 to get back (yes we hiked in the dark, with headlamps).

TIP #2 bring water...that stuff is hot and the area can be dry, you will get thirsty. This is NOT an easy hike

TIP#3 be prepared for weather. Bring a wind/water jacket. It gets cold at night and random rain clouds pop up.

TIP #4 Bring a flashlight if you decided to hike at night

OK...SO we decided to begin at the end of road by Kalapana (AKA Uncle Roberts) There is a cafe (with really good burgers) as well as a smoothie and market place. Park somewhere there. Hike all the way out to the black sand beach.

 There is a pretty clear path all the way out to the beach. This beach is very rough and doesn't have a good entry to the ocean, so don't plan on swimming in it. Some locals do .  ANYWAY...after you making it to the beach, go right and keep on going. You want to stay along the coast line the whole way. The beach is public access and you are not on private property.

 There is actually a pretty good, worn path all the way along by other locals who have taken the non $100 route.

This took about 2 hours at a pretty decent pace. We knew we were getting closer when we could hear/see helicopters. We eventually could see the waves from the heat. Mind your step, some of the lava is only a day old and is VERY hot. I could feel the heat on my ankles.
 If you chose to, it's fun to pick up a stick along the way and poke it in the lava. It catches fire and forms a newly shaped lava rock on the end of the stick.
 Lava Field. It's hard to imagine this use to be a HUGE subdivision that is now an endless lake of lava
 Lava flow!
It was an AMAZING site to see it flow into the ocean!

NOW.. please be mindful on your way back. We were debating which path to take and I took my eyes off the ground for a second. I ended up falling to a pretty deep crevasse up to my hip (OW) as well as getting too close to the edge of the land and was one step away from falling into the ocean.

It's an amazing opportunity but can be a bit sketchy coming back at night.

Kalapana is on the east coast of the island (Hilo side). If you have a few days to stay in Hilo, I would DEF check it out.. there are SO many waterfall hikes and amazing sights to see! it's amazing (will post detailed hikes later)

Good luck!

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