Thursday, February 24, 2011

Travels on the Big Island: Lava Viewing

Part 4
(View Part I—Overview)

The helicopter tour whetted my appetite. I wanted to see more lava! The second way you can view new lava is to drive from Hilo to the end of Highway 130, where the road is closed from lava flow.

Forest CanopyWhat you get to see exactly, no one can say ahead of time. It’s a lava lottery! The viewing area is open from 2:00pm until 10:00pm. People like to stay after dark so they can see lava glowing.

Lava rocks at the beach

We arrived that afternoon. Two days previously, new flow crossed the road and took out a residence. When we arrived, that new lava was still hot, steamy, silver in color, but not glowing. Disappointment! But about 50 yards away, we saw a river of lava (well, maybe a stream of lava) glowing red as it coursed down a crack of older lava. In the area vendors were selling escorted hikes to the sea, hikes to active lava, and souvenirs. As the crowds got bigger, the security guards kept a tight watch to make sure people wouldn’t take off and walk on hot lava. (I’m not kidding.)

Road's End
At Road's End Highway 130

A house survives
A house survives amidst lava flows

Fern peeks through
A fern peeks out

Hot lava glowing in the distance
Hot lava!

Pele's Art

Pele's Art provides awesome formations

After a bit of time viewing the awesome destructive power of lava flows, we retreated back to Highway 11 to make our way to Volcano Village and our next lodging.

Next: Hiking in Volcano

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