Previously: Volcano Day (Part 1)
Lunch at the Volcano House was wonderful. We sat down with our buffet meals and ate in front of a huge window overlooking the Kilauea Caldera. The fog and rain were coming in, obscuring our view for much of the time, but we did get some good shots of the gasses emerging from the ground (see left), so I was pleased.
Even though there were tons of warning signs and blocked roads restricting views of the volcano (even the little steam vents by the main road were blocked off!), I was amazed that I could get as close as I did. I mean, we were on an active volcano! Not one that was dormant and maybe might go off soon, but one that was actively spewing out lava and gasses as we were watching.
So I didn’t see Pele’s tears or Pele’s hair as we were hiking around (I did see them in the Jaggar Museum, though). And we found out that because of safety concerns, the place where you can see the red flowing lava was closed. But I’m okay with that, because I saw this:
After lunch, we decided to see how far up we could get on Mauna Loa (Kilauea is actually a bit of a pimple on the side of Mauna Loa). One of our maps showed a road going up to Mauna Loa Lookout Point at 6,662 ft., so we decided to try it.
We drove up a one-lane, (mostly) paved road for what seemed to be ages. Even though we only traveled for 11 miles, we were also going 5-10 miles an hour. But there was much more to see here than the Chain of Craters Road. Where along the lava flows there was only desert, here was lush forest, with wild animals at every turn.
The rain and the fog persisted all the way to the top of the road: so much so that when we got to the lookout point, there was nothing to see! It was also 50 degrees outside, which, according to my mother, might as well be freezing. So, back in the car we went, to drive back through the fairyland forests and over the mysterious cattle guards (we really weren’t sure why they were there, since it didn’t really seem like ranching country…just one of those weird Hawaii things, I guess), back to our guest house, where we decided to have dine at the Lava Rock Cafe (okay, it was really a diner, but they wanted to be so much more!).