Saturday, November 29, 2014

Along the Chain of Craters Road

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

This 40 mile round trip road from the visitor's center down to the the ocean gave us a good overview of the entire park.  I've noticed all of our national parks have the short version and the long version of sight seeing, depending on how much time you have.  If one day is all you have, there is always a main loop through the park.  If you have a week, there are miles and miles of trails to explore.  Although the rangers say it takes about three hours to drive this road, out and back, it took us twice that long because we stopped at all the turn-outs and took a few short hikes--the best of both worlds.

The above lava field of Lua Manu is a great place to get out and stretch your legs.  Marvel at the plants growing between the cracks of the older hardened lava.
As you drive further, the lava fields are newer and there are fewer plants.  Closer to the ocean, the wind grew a little more fierce.  There are trails leading down the cliffs to the black sand beaches, but these are among the roughest in the park.  Stone cairns mark the way, but there are deep cracks in the earth, many loose rocks and the lava is still thin and crusty.  We stayed put, enjoying the views from the wooden platform.
At the end of the road is a beautiful sea arch.  Where the lava hits the sea, massive cliffs add land to the island, only to be eroded over time. This arch was formed by the relentless power of waves and wind.
Here you can park your car and walk a little further to witness first hand the power of Pele.
 No kidding!

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