3:30AM they said. Meet outside the cabin at 3:30AM. That’s the conversation that I overheard while quietly devouring my scrambled eggs, courtesy of the Kilauea Military Camp. That’s all that I needed to hear to know that these people, who were also enjoying the same fine eggs, were planning a trip to see the Kilauea lava flow at Volcanoes National Park. I instinctively interrupted their conversation and quickly asked, “do you have room for one more?”
No trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is complete without a visit to the end of Chain of Craters Road. Many times, visitors will check out the Holei Sea Arch, but completely skip out on fully venturing to the end of the road. Don’t be one of those people. The hike to the end is relatively short, though at times it feels like it is never ending. The National Park Service says that it is a one-mile roundtrip hike, but it feels much longer than that. It’s probably because the hike in and out is on a flat and monotonous paved road. Doesn’t matter, I’d suggest that you tough it out.
Located on the southern flank of Kilauea is one of the largest petroglyph fields in the state. Puu Loa, or, “hill of long life,” contains over 23,000 petroglyph images. Michelle and I decided to check out the petroglyph field after a visit to the end of Chain of Craters Road and the Holei Sea Arch. The hike in is about a one-mile trek on uneven, rocky terrain. However, once you reach the wooden planks at the end of the trail, you are awarded with a unique opportunity to view ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs carved hundred of years ago.
The Halemaumau Overlook at the Jaggar Museum in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must see whenever visiting this one-of-a-kind national park. We decided to visit the Jaggar Museum on the last night of our stay at the park. It was about 5pm, or so, when we found ourselves at the famous volcanic museum. Unfortunately for us, it was very cloudy with slight showers. The clouds were plentiful and hovering close to the crater, leaving us and every other spectator with nothing to see. So, we decided that we would head back to the Volcano House, wait a bit, and then return to the Jaggar Museum later in the evening with our fingers crossed.
The main attraction at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is Kilauea and the active craters that surround it. That said, The Holei Sea Arch is a neat little side attraction that you can visit as you explore the various lookouts on Chain of Craters Road. Near the very end of Chain of Craters Road is a formation known as the Holei Sea Arch. As far as what it is, I’ll let the scientist explain it:
With the Kilauea Iki and Devastation trails “in the bag,” so to speak, I was eager to explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park even more. Puu Huluhulu was the next trail on my list. Translated, Puu Huluhulu means “hairy hill.” To the south of Puu Huluhulu is Mauna Ulu, which is a large shield volcano that erupted from May 24, 1969 to July 24, 1974. Legend suggests that this major eruption was a show of force from Pele’s brother, Keoʻahikamakaua, the spirit of molten fountains. We would hike through the remnants of the Mauna Ulu eruption to the top of Puu Huluhulu.
One of the most interesting aspects of Holua Cabin is the nearby lava tube. There are two routes to the lava tube, with each route bringing you to a different entrance. We ended up choosing the route that takes you pass the pit toilets and toward an open lava rock field. The alternate route is about 100 yards east of the cabin, and then from there you will turn right and follow a faint trail, according to some write-ups. In the past, there used to be a ladder that people could use to descend into the lava tube. Now, though, there is only a sign indicating that the area has been closed and the ladder has been removed. For this reason, we decided to start at the opposite end, in order to avoid any dangerous down climbing.
The following is a guest post written by Oregon based photographer, Miles Morgan. A few days ago, I was introduced to a Telegraph article featuring intimate photos from the lip of the Kilauea volcano by Miles Morgan. I found Morgan’s photos to be absolutely stunning and captivating. I reached out to Morgan and asked him to share a few words and photos with the readers of Exploration: Hawaii. He kindly accepted.
I’ve always been interested in volcanoes in general, (haven’t we all?) so when I picked up landscape photography in 2009 it didn’t take me long to conclude that it would make an excellent subject. My father got married high up on Mauna Loa, so later I wanted to go visit that spot and made my first trip to the Big Island. The ribbons of older flows that dominate the Kona side of the island astonished me. It was like driving on the moon. I’ve been back many times since, and it remains my favorite place on earth.