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Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii
I love the Big Island of Hawaii because it so diverse.
Several weeks ago I traveled with my husband and my father to meet up with my brother and his wife on this tropical island.
I have been there a few times before, but this time was different since so much of my own family was there.
I love the Big Island because it so diverse.
One minute you can be in a lush tropical rainforest, and the next you feel like you are on a different planet because of all the dried lava flow from days gone by. The Big Island is the newest of the islands in Hawaii, and it is still under construction .
My brother asked me what I wanted to do, and I told him I wanted to go to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and to see the lava tube, since I had somehow missed it on prior visits.
So five of us ventured in a jeep two hours from Kona to see the land of the volcanoes. Other than my brothers driving, which was pretty scary in and of itself (he drives very fast), we enjoyed the windy roads and spectacular views from a few thousand feet up.
Somehow we made it safely to the park. There is a visitor's center there which has many informative displays as well as a video to preview before you go out on your own. The video basically told you how dangerous it was out there, and that you were responsible for your own safety - and then it said to have a great day ! It showed how the shelves that are formed when the lava pours down the mountain can give way and you can disappear.You can also die from the exposure to volcanic gases (VOG). Oh, great!
The video also showed how paved roads and houses have been swallowed up by the hot molten lava, and in fact, a whole village that was in the path of the lava no longer exists. In 1990 lava buried 43 square miles of land including over 200 homes, and the entire town of Kalapana. I guess if Madam Pele (the volcano Goddess) has travel plans, you better get out of her way.
So, armed with this information, and realizing we were surrounded by vents that spewed steam from the hot lava flowing deep beneath our very feet, we explored the territory. I was a bit jumpy the rest of the trip, and especially when we looked out over the caldera and current site of the Kilauea volcano where there were big clouds of volcanic gases bellowing out.
Then we decided to get even more brave and go to the underground Thurston Lava Tube. It was very interesting as you can see by the video. I half expected some lava to come thru the tube and get us, but it didn't.
We survived our trip to the Volcanoes Park, but since we left, Kilauea decided to show her fury, and it has been on the national news quite a bit since then. Here are some pictures from last week - March 2011.
Due to the latest activity, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has closed a number of roads and trails. Kulanaokuaiki campground was also closed until further notice. Luckily, no homes are under threat.
I am glad we got to see it when we did - I remember seeing the campground they are talking about.