Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hawai'i Vacation- Day 1- Lava Hike

This past week I had the option of taking a week off from work. My contract ended over at Cedar Sinai Hospital.  That place really wore me down and I really needed to take a nice break.  I last minute decided to take a trip to Hawai'i via plane.  I googled popular hostels and went to the first one that came up which was on the Big Island in Hilo.  I spent 5 days there and stayed busy the entire time doing anything from toured adventures to swimming in beautiful waterfalls.  So over the next few days I will be posting what I did.  

For starters since Hawaii has a National Park about Volcanoes and just about everything there has to do with them let me introduce you to how Hawaii was formed and about volcanoes in this basic National Geographics video.  You will be seeing that a huge portion of my photos have volcanoes or lava in them.

The first day I rented a bike and rode to town to see what was all there and to find maps and places to go the rest of the time.  I was supposed to go on a waterfall excursion but there were not enough people signed up to go.  So I went on a guided lava walk tour.  It was AWESOME!  I actually saw active lava and poked sticks in it.  

When you stick you stick in it fire exploded out releasing all the gases that are inside.  It was sooooo hot you could just barely stand there and had to get out of there.  This was the slow flowing kind of lava.  The kind that if its heading toward your house you can pack your stuff and get out of there safely.  

You can see the smoking areas in the back ground and dried lava as far as the eye can see.  Pretty crazy.  

This is one of the cool designs it makes when its hardened.


I learned that over time the lava that reaches the ocean sort of extends the land.  The island gains acres of land at a time.  Also over time the lave decomposes to black sand making all of those black sand beaches you read about.  The lava is full of minerals and stuff actually starts growing again pretty quickly within a few months.    
Trees that have been planted already

Some people refuse to move despite the risks of living here such as breathing toxic air and risk for their home being destroyed over and over again.

The lava just eats up what ever comes in its way.

Here you can see how the lava just went though the middle of these trees and completely wiped it out.

So in pictures that will be posted later you will be seeing how this entire side of the island is just all sort of barren because of the constant flow from the volcanoes.  Roads have been destroyed and there are no plans to make new ones in this area because the lava still flows.  

Misc info:

Another popular thing to do it view at night when you can see all the hot lava in the dark from a helicopter ride or by boat when its flowing into the ocean or by foot.  I did try this from the volcano park but the weather turned foggy and rainy and you couldn't see anything.    

Kilauea Volcano Active Lava Flow, Hawaii is a link showing whats going on there from 2008.

This map shows most current flow.
I visited the Kalapana side on this day.

A Lava tube is a : long, tubular opening under the crust of solidified lava. 
A lot of the lava that we saw comes from breakouts from underground from these lava tubes.  

Current news about the flow.

There are people who are so into this stuff and religiously follow the route and paths of lava  like this guy. Nice blog with pictures and updates.

I Learned so much about all this stuff while I was there.  I learned about hot spots.  Hot spots are the reason Hawaii exists. Over millions of years as the tectonic plate moves the hot spot stays in the same place resulting in a chain of islands.  Apparently there is a new island forming now but hasn't emerged over the water yet.    

Hawai'i has tons of legends about gods/goddesses and how things came to be.  Pele is the goddess of fire. (click the link to read the story)   
Notice her hair is like lava.

No comments: