previous
next
Photos 5, page 24
next
previous
Napau Crater Trail Hike
May 22, 2009
Being a glutton for punishment, I decided to play hookie today and try and finish the hike I did on 11/1/08 out Napau
Crater Trail.  This time I wanted to reach the end.  As you no doubt recall, I turned back last time because I wanted to
get back before dark.  As it was, this time I ended up leaving a half an hour later than I did before.
8:58 AM
A check of wind direction at "View of plume" near home tells me the wind direction is from the
south, blowing the plumes to the north.  I will be coming in from the west, so I shouldn't have a
problem.  I'm more interested in the plume from
Pu'u O'o, not this one.
10:40 AM
Breakfast at Volcano House.  The plume from
Halema'uma'u Crater is also toward the north.
11:21 AM @ 003
The trail ahead
11:45 AM @ 004
A panoramic view of the path ahead.  In the far distance is the
Pu'u O'o vent, just off the left shoulder of
Kanenuiohamo Lava Shield (elevation 3440), the mound in the middle distance.  Makaopuhi Crater is to the right of
Kanenuiohamo, behind the hill sloping up to the right.  The slope to the right is the shoulder of
Mauna Ulu Lava Shield
(elevation 3360).  A "lava shield" is simply a mini-volcano, a build-up of lava from a previous eruption.  The place is
riddled with them.  
Kilauea isn't just a single volcano with just one crater but dozens of outlets where the lava has come
out over the years.
A closer look at Kanenuiohamo and
Pu'u O'o.
And closer yet of Pu'u O'o
12:08 PM @ 005
Hiking up over the shoulder of
Mauna
Ulu
, the trail is marked by stone cairns
12:13 PM @ "Grass"
Amid all this desolation is this little
patch of grass...
12:16 @ 006
Looking back, that's
Mauna Ulu on the left.  The trees just barely peeking above the right side
of
Mauna Ulu are on Pu'u Huluhulu.
12:32 PM @ 007
Kanenuiohamo with Makaopuhi Crater to it's right.  Pu'u O'o is hiding behind
Kanenuiohamo.  Out here, the only sound is the wind.  When the wind stops, it is ab-so-lutely
SILENT!
1:06 PM @ Makaopuhi
Just to the right of the crater, the trail
goes into the woods...
Quite a difference, huh?  Now the silence has given way to more silence broken only by the sounds of small
birds chirping all around.  It's much cooler here too.  And easier to walk!
1:21 PM @ "Fork"
Kalapana Trail, forking right, leads down to where the lava is flowing into the ocean.  Napau
Crater Trail
is the one I'm on.  I started at "Mauna Ulu Trail" and am headed for "Napau Crater".
1:30 PM @ "Overlook"
Another view down into
Makaopuhi Crater.  That's Mauna Ulu in the distance.  I came in
from where the vegetation starts below Mauna Ulu and walked all the way around the crater
This came as a surprise.  What's this
doing way out here?
And then a glimpse through the trees -
the whole point of me coming out here:
I can see
Pu'u O'o.  I've had enough.  
I've hiked over 6 miles and I'm tired,
ready to turn back.  But I have to press
on to get to
Napau Crater and the
end of the trail.
2:35 PM @ "Napau Crater"
Finally, I made it!  
Napau Crater.  With a little rain on my lens.  Pu'u O'o is in the center of the panorama photo, lost in
the exposure.
<-- There it is! -->
I'm done!  Only one problem:  I still have to walk back!  I'm beat, my feet are sore, but I have no choice.  I have to hike
the 6 1/2 miles back to the car or spend the night...
straight line!  Walking, it's probably
more like 4 or 5.  No thanks!  Maybe
some other time.  There's a camping
area at Napau Crater (I didn't see it)
and I don't think it's much of one, but
maybe someday I'll spend the night
and continue the journey...