Day 6, Monday, May 15, 2017
After we climbed back up the road from Waipio Valley, we had lots more sightseeing to do! Once again, we went to Tex’s for malasadas. I got guava filling the second time. So yummy!
Our next stop was at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; unfortunately by then it was really raining hard. We went to the museum near the crater (it is open later than the main Visitor Center). From the patio at the museum you could see the glow from the crater after dark. The sun was going down when we arrived, but you couldn’t see the sunset because it was so socked in with rain! My camera battery died at that point but I did get a few photos with my phone of the crater glow with streaks of rain. And I got the stamps for the park and some postcards at the museum store.
Next we drove over to the Thurston Lava Tube, named for an influential family that played a big part in the establishment of the park. Brandon and I walked down and through it in the rain – the rain flows through the porous lava and drips in from the ceiling. Brent and Rich had already seen it and opted to stay in the car. The tube was really cool – it was about 20 feet tall! It wasn’t very long, but we didn’t go quite all the way to the end, because there was quite a bit of standing water at the end. It was interesting to compare it to other lava tubes I saw a few months later in Idaho, Washington and Oregon!
On my next trip there, I would really like to hike out to where the lava flows into the water. The hike varies based on where the lava is flowing. When I was there last May, it would have been about an 8 mile round trip hike. It would be awesome to do it in the late afternoon, so I can see the sunset over the water, and see the lava flowing after dark. Of course, the hike back would be in the dark with headlamps – fun!
Interestingly, Hawaiians used to sometimes bury chiefs in lava tubes. They removed the flesh from the bones and wrapped them and placed them in a lauhala basket; they then placed the baskets and offerings into the lava tubes and closed them off. I learned that there are a number of lava tubes in the cliffs on Hawaiʻi that have been sealed off that way.
Due to the rain, and the fact that it was getting dark when we got there, we didn’t get to see much of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. A return visit is certainly in order, to see more and do more. There is a scenic drive along the crater rim that we saw very little of, the Chain of Craters Scenic drive, which goes down to the water (part of this drive has now been closed due to the active lava flow), and over 150 miles of hiking trails! One of the most fascinating things about the park is that while the lava continues to destroy things; 9 miles of the Chain of Craters road, a visitor’s center, a historic Hawaiian village, etc., it also continues to add new land to the island and the park. I can’t wait to get back.
That night, we went to the Thai Thai restaurant – I had a Shrimp Wonton soup that was soooo good. It had broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, cabbage, spinach and green onions. And shrimp wontons! Delicious! I should have taken home leftovers. And now I’m craving that soup!
We got home late that night. On our drive home, we passed South Point, which has one of only four green sand beaches in the world! The sand is green because the lava there contains olivine, which gives the sand its green hue when the lava rock breaks down into fine sand. Of course we just passed the turnoff on our drive home, and wouldn’t have been able to see anything anyway because it was long past dark. I definitely want to go there on my next trip.
Our day was once again amazing and we saw really cool things. We also had to pass up a lot of really cool things! I have so many ideas for my next visit!