Volcanoes National Park - Eruption Brewing at Kilauea

Noe's Nest, our home for the week, was less than an hour from Volcanoes National Park.  We drove out to the park and hiked the Kilauea Iki trail.  The trail started along the crater rim and we had fantastic views.
We could see one of the nearby craters steaming in the distance.  I definitely recommend watching the short film about the Kilauea eruption in 1959 if you time your visit right.  They show one of the films only once a day.  It's dated from about the time of the eruption and has a 1960s film strip quality to it.  The footage is amazing and it's even more amazing to think that we would be hiking on an area that was violently spewing lava less than 50 years ago.
We set out on our hike.  I was admiring this lovely yellow plant until I was informed that it was a particularly invasive non-native species of ginger.
We spied the vent that had poured forth lava not so long ago.


We continued our walk along the rim through a forested section of trail.
We even spotted a Kalij pheasant along the trail.
We soon began to descend toward the crater floor.  These beautiful white flowers were a stark contrast to the dull black earth beneath our feet.
We walked along the crater floor stopping to admire each splash of color from opportunistic flowers.
The landscape was amazing and unlike anything we'd seen before in our travels.
We were soon standing near the vent from the 1959-1960 eruptions.  Where we were standing had been a super-hot lake of lava in our parent's lifetime.
The path was rather rocky and lined with some of these aerated lava rocks.
The terrain smoothed out a bit as we continued to walk along the crater floor.  Whole areas were cracked and upended as if they were a road surface that had been through an earthquake.
We passed gently smoking steam vents and soon reached the other side of the mile wide crater.
We began our ascent up the forested cliff face.
We looked back from time to time to admire the surface of the crater.
We soon reached the top and enjoyed the view of the crater floor below with newfound appreciation.
We emerged at the far end of the trail and decided to take a quick detour into the Thurston Lava Tube.
We walked a bit further along the crater rim watching the steaming crater in the distance with awe.
We drove a bit further to some other areas of the park including an area of active steam vents.
We heeded the warnings and stayed on the trail: Beware of steam vents, earth cracks, and cliffs.
We hiked through the Sulfur Banks and appreciated the yellow colors and steaming plumes but not so much the smell of rotten eggs.
Our last stop was the Thomas Jaggar Museum.
Inside, we were educated about the various tools used by scientists to predict and monitor volcanic activity.
Outside, we could see even better views of the smoldering crater.
We could drive no further since the sulfur dioxide emissions from the crater had effectively closed the rest of the Crater Rim Drive.  Volanoes was definitely the most memorable of the National Parks we've visited to date.

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Sidewalk Safari: Volcanoes National Park - Eruption Brewing at Kilauea
Volcanoes National Park - Eruption Brewing at Kilauea
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