Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hike to the Lava Flow

After hiking 9 miles to see the actual Volcano from as close as we were willing to get, we stopped nearby for some delicious Thai food.  And then we drove out to the current Lava flow area.  Just a few years ago it was flowing thru the National Park area, but currently it is flowing on private property--if you consider the lava field where your house use to be, private property.  In Hawaii, they do.  The Lava is flowing through the neighborhood of Kalapana.  There are a few homes left in the area, some without running water or working electricity and with lava flowing closer and closer.  The street of course is public property and so the county has set up  a veiwing area for tourists that want to get a look at the lava,  We arrived late in the afternoon and walked down the street, but couldn't see much from where the viewing area was. Technically if you could figure out where the road was (as it is now covered feet deep in lava, you could walk out in the lava field all you want).  In the parking lot there were locals with booths set up offering to take groups out to get close to the lava after dark charging $50-$60 per person.  Some were headed an hours hike to where the lava enters the ocean.   We were tired from hiking all morning and thought the price was a little steep, not to mention that the ocean entry area is more unstable.

Don't know what the black mark on my forehead is.
 We found a local that was taking another couple out thru a friends property and asked if we could come along for a small price.  We paid him $50 for both of us to go.  We hiked a little less then a mile out to find some lava flow.  It moves quite slow and is thick. It is incredibly hot making it difficult to get very close or stay close to it.   It was fun to poke a stick in the lava and it would ignite from the gases mixing.  As we hiked around you could feel the heat emanating from the lava that had flowed the days before as it was cooling.  As I realized how hot the rocks were just a mere 12 inches down, I quickly began looking for a cooler place to walk or stand.
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