Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii, Redux

Volcanoes National Park. Chain of Craters Road

I'm a huge fan of National Parks, and one of the most amazing parks anywhere is Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii's Big Island.  When you visit, you'll know why it's a UNESCO World Heritage site!  I've previously shared some of my experiences here, which you can read at this link if you're interested.

 

I recently revisited Volcanoes NP (something about the volcano draws me back again and again).  Kilauea is still active, currently only to a limited extent within the park boundaries itself, although this could change at any time as volcanoes are notoriously unpredictable.  Where Kileau's lava flows are most active right now is outside the park in the southwestern part of the island near the town of Pahoe.  This town's very existence is threatened by flowing lava, which  may isolate it from the rest of the Big Island as lava flows continue to advance.  Access to the town and this area is restricted.  

 

The following video clips have some excellent recent footage of this advancing tongue of lava which is causing lots of damage and which, since the clips were released, has closely approached Pahoe, now under an evacuation order.  

 

 

 

Within Volcanoes National Park, Crater Rim Drive remains closed past the Jaggar Museum because of high toxic fume levels within the Halema'uma'u Crater; at night you can still see the glow of lava from this crater.  No indication that the road will re-open any time soon.  Nene, the rare Hawaiian geese, seem to be increasing in number and we spotted several at a distance in the park, which I think is great!

 

Some photos of my visits follow.  Hold your mouse over an image for its legend, or click on the thumbnail below.

 

Volcanoes National Park. Smoke rises from the Halema'uma'u crater within the Kilauea Crater

Volcanoes National Park. Smoke rises from the Halema'uma'u crater within the Kilauea Crater

Volcanoes National Park. Glow of molten lava from Halema'uma Crater. Visible only after dusk.

Volcanoes National Park. Historic Volcano Lodge sits above Kilauea Crater

Volcanoes National Park. Orchids grown in abundance adjoining Kilauea Crater

Volcanoes National Park. Orchids

Volcanoes National Park. Old lava flows adjoin the Chain of Craters Road

Volcanoes National Park. Chain of Craters Road

Volcanoes National Park. Notice all the differing lava flows on the slopes of the volcanoe, as seen from the Chain of Craters Road

Volcanoes National Park. Chain of Craters Road

Volcanoes National Park. Chain of Craters Road. Lava

Volcanoes National Park. Tree trapped by the lava flow.

Volcanoes National Park. Warning sign on the Chain of Craters Road

Volcanoes National Park. Lava flow has closed the Chain of Craters Road

Volcanoes National Park. Rippling pattern of lava flow

Volcanoes National Park.

Volcanoes National Park.

Volcanoes National Park. Views of Kileaua from the Chain of Craters Road

Volcanoes National Park. Pattern of volcano, Chain of Craters Road

Volcanoes National Park. Holei Sea Arch: a natural arch, pounded by the powerful surf. Chain of Craters Road

Volcanoes National Park. Shoreline along the Chain of Craters Road

Volcanoes National Park. Volcanoes National Park: One of the largest pit craters adjoining the Chain of Craters Road

Volcanoes National Park. Vegetation along the Chain of Craters Road

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Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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A reminder of the destructive power of nature.

I'd be worried about the soles of my shoes melting and welding themselves to rock !

Is the access a tourist has only to dormant areas ?

Fascinating blog from what must be the most "lively" location on Earth.

Once again DrF , educational and interesting !

Hi Garry, and thanks for your comment.

 

The active areas within the National Park are off limits because of toxic fume levels, not so much because of lava.  The roads to the Pahoe area (outside the park) of actively flowing lava are closed and access is theoretically restricted.  For a fee, one of the locals will guide you to the flowing lava.  Remember this is thick fairly slowly flowing lava, not unlike moving pancake batter.  But it is hot and you have to be careful.  Shoes can melt and worse risk is that you stand on a crust of hardened lava to have it colapse and you fall into the molten stuff underneath the crust.  

 

Best just to stand back and admire nature's power.  NonethelessI do find it all fascinating.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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