Halemaumau Crater, at the summit of Kiluaea Volcano, underwent profound changes during the 2018 eruption. When lava drained from the summit vent, the crater floor experienced a series of collapses, radically changing the appearance of the crater and its surrounds.
I had seen this area from the air and posted about it (here). The middle photo was taken during that flight and shows where a section of Crater Rim Drive slid into the crater. When I last visited the park, I got a different view of this.
The recently reopened Byron Ledge Trail has good views across the crater. In the top photo, the chunk of road is clearly visible with its white line running down the middle of it. The bottom photo shows the longer view across the crater with the road in the distance. In the center of the photo, equipment used to monitor the volcano’s activity, can be seen. The tree in the foreground is an ‘ōhi‘a lehua with its brilliant red flowers. It’s an early colonizer of new lava flows and all those little dark spots on the main crater floor are ‘ōhi‘a lehua trees, mostly still shrub-sized at this time.
These lava flows, on the northeast slopes of Mauna Loa, show some of the colors lava takes. Together with the untouched islands of vegetation and cloud shadows, I think they make an interesting patterned landscape.
Not far from the coast, in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, is Pu‘u Loa petroglyphs trail. It’s only a mile and a half round trip, but visits a place with a huge number of petroglyphs. A raised boardwalk circles part of this area, giving a good view of the petroglyphs without adversely impacting them.
One of the main features of this area and its petroglyph field is explained on a display seen in the photo to the left. It reads, ‘The name Pu‘uloa (large hill) carries a kaona (hidden meaning)—hill of long life. Families with genealogical ties to these lands come here to place the piko (umbilical cord) of their child. Their hope is that the mana (spiritual guiding energy) of Pu‘uloa would bless that child with a long and prosperous life, and root them to their ancestral lands. Each puka (hole) is created to house a single child’s piko. Of over 23,000 petroglyphs found at Pu‘uloa, 16,000 are piko-related carvings—a testament to the importance of both Pu‘uloa and ‘ohana (family).’
A final post based on the theme of this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, which is ‘Silence.’
Unless the wind is howling, the top of Mauna Kea is a quiet place. The immensity of the volcano below and the sky above seems to swallow all sound. There’s no wildlife up there, just a few visitors wandering about, and telescopes silently probing space.
At sunset, the quiet is enhanced, despite an influx of people for the event. Perhaps it’s the dimming light or the muffling layer of billowy clouds around the volcano, but there’s a profound silence and a tranquility not easily found elsewhere.
This week’s WordPress photo challenge is to choose your favorite photo taken in 2017. I’m going with a photo that I haven’t posted before (though below I offer a few of my favorites that have run).
This is Sriracha, a female Bengal tiger and cousin of Tzatziki, a white male tiger. Both can be found at Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo in Hilo. What I like about this photo is those huge paws, the quiet movement, and the sense of great power that could be uncoiled at any moment.
For more information about Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens, go to hilozoo.org.
As far as favorite photos already posted are concerned, I offer a few here:
Left. A gold dust day gecko drinking from a bird of paradise flower is a blaze of color (posted here).
Right. This photo captures the awesome spectacle of the lava firehose from Kilauea Volcano pouring into the ocean (posted here). Currently, while the flow is still active, lava is no longer entering the ocean. Left. I was happy to snap the moment a passion vine butterfly laid an egg (posted here). This was taken on the same day as the gecko photo above, so a banner day for me.
Right. I like all the photos in this post for their color and how they capture something of this most Hawaiian of dance (posted here).
Finally, I love this gargantuan blenny for its name, and was very pleased to get this photo, since the fish is apt to dart away and the shallow water was rocking (posted here).
Another post on the WordPress photo challenge theme of ‘serene.’
To me this Mauna Kea scene, of an empty landscape in early evening light backed by pillow-like clouds, is quite serene. But is it really? Those fluffy clouds could contain the kind of turbulence that throws airplanes around, and the pu’us are evidence of volcanic eruptions in the past. Still, it does look serene.
These views of the trail across Kilauea Iki Crater, taken from the rim of the crater, give some idea of the scale of Kilauea Volcano.
Above, a group of people, looking very small, walk the trail across the crater floor.
To the left, smoke and gases from the active vent in Halema’uma’u Crater can be seen. Halema’uma’u Crater is part of the Kilauea Caldera which is much, much bigger than Kilauea Iki Crater. And, yes, that same group is still visible on the trail in this second photo, along with several others hiking the trail.
Probably the most visited lava tube on the Big Island is Thurston Lava Tube in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. However, the most easily accessible might be one just a couple of miles north of the airport at Kailua Kona.
Just off the main highway, it’s not unusual to see a line of vehicles pulled over and people scrambling over the lava. There’s a well worn path leading down to the entrance of the tube and enough headroom to make access easy. However, it’s worth noting that there are piles of rock strewn around from ceiling collapses and the whole area looks crumbly. I certainly wouldn’t want to be down there during an earthquake. Enter at your own risk!