Photos 5, page 28
Royal Gardens hike
September 5, 2009
such memorable lava flows a year and a half ago (see pages 99-105).  There's been a lot happening at Royal Gardens
since I was last up there, but the county has closed off the area and hasn't allowed people in there.  I finally came up with a
discovered when I'd done the "Kipuka hike" on
May 16 (dim cyan line on right side of right image).  The lava viewing area is
only open from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM.  The rest of the time the place is deserted.  I figured I could hike out and back before
all the people showed up.  For reference, I've included the tracks for the
2/28 hike (the dim green line for the hike out and
the dim magenta line for the hike back).  Because the Google Earth imagery is somewhat outdated, I've placed an overlay
of the August 27 map (see below) with the most recent conditions.  The dim yellow line mixed with the 2/28 tracks is from
the overlay map showing the estimated path of the lava tube through which the lava is flowing to the sea.  Think about it.  
Within a couple of days from when I walked that route a river of lava flowed through there that eventually skinned over and
was buried by increasing layers of lava which insulated the flowing lava, allowing it to continue flowing without cooling.  As a
matter of fact, if you look at the hikes of
3/2, 3/3, and the maps and images on pages 105-106 you can see the lava river
before it covered itself over.  It's amazing because on
2/17 and 2/23 I went looking for lava and there was nothing.  Then
2/28 everything broke loose.  By 3/8 the county had everything buttoned up and nobody could go out there.  They still
can't but I finally figured out a way to do it, dammit!
Before we get started, let's do a little history from the maps on the
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory web page
So here we are, ready to rock (or lava, if you will).  Don't get your hopes up, we're not going to see any hot stuff, but we're
going to see the changes since the last time we were out there.  Green line is the hike out, magenta line is the hike back.  
I've marked the locations where pictures were taken.  I've even put arrows to show which way I was looking when I took the
11:56 AM @ 003
I'm aiming for that clump of vegetation in front of that middle smoke plume, near where the "2-28 Mango" used to be
12:14 PM @ 005
That's a house down by the plume!
12:13 @ 005
More than 180 degree panorama
1:27 PM @ "Rest"
A view of the plume with a helicopter
for scale
1:28 PM @ "Rest"
It's so quiet out here on the lava.  Not
a sound except for the wind.  Except
when these guys show up!
1:28 PM @ "Rest"
Another view of the plume with a
helicopter for scale
1:37 PM @ 007
I just liked this interesting pattern...
1:48 @ "New"
New lava, that is.  All the silvery stuff is new lava.  It reflects the heat from the
sun like crazy!
2:07 @ 012
I'm looking for where the mango tree was from 2/28.  I've
got it marked on my GPS and I'm headed toward it (013).  
It's been annihilated by the lava.  It's not that Mango that
you see in the picture - that's a different one - one I
marked as "Shade".  It's really hot out here and I'm really
looking forward to getting out of the sun...
12:47 @ 006 (A)
12:48 @ 006 (B)
1:48 @ "New"
2:10 PM @ 013
Where the Mango tree was.  Here's a nice panorama looking back at the flow field.  All the
silvery lava is new
pahoehoe.  The dark lava you see is a'a, which is also new.
back then and on 2/28/08.  The mango
tree is on the right under the black
arrow.  This shot is from further away...