Hawaii 2013: Volcano National Park

For the second half of our journey, we stayed at Aloha Crater Lodge, a lovely bed & breakfast, in Volcano, Hawaii. Only 10 minutes from the Park Entrance, this converted house boasts eclectic decor, very quiet rooms, homemade coconut muffins for breakfast and gracious hosts (and their friendly dogs).  In addition, Dan gives guided tours of the lava tube on their property every day.

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Two of three happy dogs
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Me and Shannon Fisher, one of the owners of Aloha Crater Lodge — and the gifted baker of to-die-for coconut macadamia muffins!

 

In the Kazumura Lava Tube
In the Kazumura Lava Tube

We spent two days exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Currently, there is no access to view spewing lava (it’s going straight into the ocean across private property). But there is plenty of volcanic good stuff to see!

Our first stop was the Jaggar Museum to view the Halema’uma’u Crater at night. During the day, it looks kind of like a geyser — but don’t be fooled: that plume is not just steam; it’s a vent of volcanic gases and ash. And at night, you can see the glow from the lava beneath the surface.

Halema'uma'u Crater during the day.
Halema’uma’u Crater during the day.
Halema'uma'u Crater at night from the Jaggar Museum.
Halema’uma’u Crater at night from the Jaggar Museum.
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pahoehoe lava flow
There are 2 types of lava on Hawaii: the glassy, ropey pahoehoe and the rough a'a.  They are chemically the same, but texturally very different.
There are 2 types of lava on Hawaii: the glassy, ropey pahoehoe and the rough a’a. They are chemically the same, but texturally very different.

 

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In certain areas, olivine crystals form in the lava — known as the gemstone peridot when refined. When hiking the Kiluea Iki Crater, we found olivine crystals in almost every place we looked!
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A closer look at an Olivine crystal

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More olivine

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The amazing ohi’a lehua grows on freshly cooled lava

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The Ohi’a Lehua is the flower of the Big Island of Hawaii.

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‘Ama’u fern
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Pele’s hair — volcanic spun glass fibers

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A lei for Pele

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A lava tree — the tree itself was engulfed by lava, but the shape remains
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Lava creates beautiful textures and colors

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Steam vents in the Kiluea Iki caldera. This is true steam from water that seeps in through the rocks and is heated by the lava lake below and returns to the atmosphere as steam.

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Steam vents along cracks in the surface

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