Big Island Lava Tour

The next day, we drove down toward Puna and saw lava three ways. 


We pulled into the parking lot just in time to see four chickens crossing the road.
We took time to apply a good coating of mosquito repellent to our exposed skin and then turned around to admire the canopy of trees.  It was a truly beautiful sight and unlike anything I've seen before.
We walked a loop around the sidewalk trail built into the park and admired some of the lava trees which were left behind during previous eruption episodes on the Big Island when whole trees were engulfed by the flow.

2. Kapoho Beach

Our next stop was Kapoho Beach, a spot marked with this skeletal lighthouse.  To get there, we jostled and bumped over about 2 miles of unpaved road.
We hiked about 15 minutes out toward the water over chunks of pumice.
We stopped for a picnic lunch including a spicy thai green papaya salad we had bought at the Hilo Farmers Market.  We sat for a while just watching the waves come in.
We soon walked back toward our car and noticed these palm fronds growing from the cooled lava.  The Big Island was growing with each cycle of eruption.
We continued along the trail until we could spot the lighthouse in the distance.
We hopped back in the car and drove to the Kapoho tide pools.  This was a relaxing spot to dip toes in the water or take a swim.  The public access parking area is rather limited.  There are a few places that look like parking spots but take heed of the warning signs not to park there.  We noticed the tide starting to lap in   and encroach on those tempting parking spots.
We continued once again along the field of lava toward the end of the road.

3. Kalapana

The Kapoho Kalapana Road ends abruptly.  In 1990, lava flowing from Kilauea changed directions and engulfed the small fishing town and black sand beach.  A makeshift cafe and a few souvenir stalls sprouted up in its place.
We walked out on the trail marked with red gravel towards the ocean.
Coconuts had been strewn across the lava to seed new life.
The shapes and textures of the former lava flow held our interest.
In addition to the palm trees seeded on purpose, grasses and small brush sprouted naturally in the cracks in the surface.
We spotted the sea in the distance.
We emerged onto black sand with more waves crashing in.
The hardened lava that we saw in the three places we visited today really captured our imagination.

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Sidewalk Safari: Big Island Lava Tour
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Sidewalk Safari
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