Photos 6, page 24
Lava Hike
February 24 2010
(For those of you who have problems with computers (and who doesn't?) this is often the best solution.)  Anyway, it was a
just to show you what's where.  The lava flows from the magma chamber under
Kilauea (about 10 miles to the left), the the
 (TEB stands for the "Thanksgiving Eve Breakout" in November of 2007).  The lava then comes to the  (TEB stands for the
"Thanksgiving Eve Breakout" in November of 2007).  The lava then comes to the
"TEB "TEB surface near the top of Royal
and flows on the surface from there.  The hill, or pali, that Royal Gardens is on is way too steep for me to climb
so I content myself with messing around at the base of the pali where it's relatively flat and the lava slows down to a crawl.  
The terrain is only slightly sloped from there to the ocean.  I still include the
Waikupanaha ocean entry as a reference
although there isn't anything happening there anymore.
On this occasion, I met a couple, Chris & Jo, who where walking back toward the cars.  We got to talking and they asked if
they could tag along with me as I went out to find the hot lava.  Sure!  Having company would be a real treat!
11:40 AM @ "Meet Chris & Jo"
They've changed the visitor's viewing
area, moving it from down by the coast
to where the road used to continue...
12:56 PM @ 007
There's a river of lava coming down the hill, just to the right of the that lonely
bush in the middle of the view.  Look how shiny the lava is on the hill.  That's
new stuff...
1:12 PM @ 008
Helicopters are out, like bees on
honey.  You can see smoke at the
edges of the flow...
1:32 PM @ 009
You can see the remnants of one of the streets in
Royal Gardens
1:34 PM @ 009
You can just barely make out that lava stream coming down the hill.  It's piling up at
the bottom.  This must really be something at night...  We're probably 1/3 of a mile
1:56 PM between 009 and "Poke"
Now you can see lots of little rivulets.  
I'd guess they were about 10-15 feet
2:06 PM @ "Poke"
On the surface, the lava looks solid.  
But it is doughy and I can poke through
it with my stick to the hot stuff
underneath.  The lava forms a skin
from contact with the air, much like
pudding does...
2:07 PM @ "Poke"
As you can see from your track on the map, we went toward the
pali but the
surface got too hot to go further so we backtracked down around the end of the
flow until we could find a place where we could walk up to it.  You can't really
see it in the picture but the lava between Chris & Jo about waist high is liquid.  
Needless to say, they're very excited...
2:09 PM @ "Poke"
You can see a bit of orange at the very left of the picture but that whole area is
liquid and moving.  I like this shot with the lava coming down the pali in the
background and the heat waves coming off the hot lava.
2:13 PM @ "Poke"
MOVIE (41.2 MB)
The file's a little big but it'll give you an
idea of how things are moving...
3:37 PM @ 013
started to rain back there so the
smoke and steam show up better....
4:11 PM @ 015
Some nice God's rays...
4:11 PM @ 015
Another look back...
Back at the entrance, there's this sign
explaining things.  I know it's 3 miles to
the lava - I should know, I've walked it
It was great having company on the walk.  Chris and Jo were very good companions and we had
a great time. Here's some pictures that they contributed.
Chris x 2
I can only stand this close to the lava for a few seconds before it gets too hot...
See the pictures above to see how close they were standing to get these pix...
Chris x 2 stopping on the way back at
the only shade we could find!
couple.  Aren't they cute?  If you look
closely, you can see the stream of lava
in the background running right into
Chris' pack!
Since I have a little room left on this page, I'd like to steal some quotes from the absolute best guidebook available for the
Publications, Inc., P.O. Box 991, Lihu'e, HI 96766-0991,  This guide is so readable, I just sat down and
read it through like a regular book - simply for the entertainment value.  It is interesting, amusing, and highly informative.  If
you ever visit Hawaii, this guide is a must.  They also produce guides for the other islands as well.  Check it out...a
"When you hear that the volcano is erupting, you might think of a cone-shaped mountain, of going up to the top and
peering into a boiling lake of molten rock.  Maybe some will be pouring rapidly down the mountain, consuming everything in
its path as people flee in panic.  In Hawai'i, things are
far different.  Here, even the volcano is laid-back.  Though it has
erupted from the main crater in the past, most of the time (including the current eruption) the lava breaks out from a vent
along what's called the rift zone, a linear belt of fractured rock on the flank of the volcano.  From this vent the lava travels
downhill, usually to the sea.  After it starts flowing, pahoehoe lava rivers crust over, forming tubes.  The tubes act as
excellent insulators (the lava usually loses a mere 20 degrees F over miles of travel in these tubes) and carry the lava to
the ocean.  Sometimes these tubes break the surface downhill of the source, forming surface flows.  When this happens,
you can often walk right up to it.  Otherwise,m there might be an enormous steam plume at teh sea (which glows at night)."
"We've been to the volcano countless time, with and without surface lava.  It's always a fantastic experience, though not
what people expect.
"During a relatively calm flow, pahoehoe lava is silvery coated, red or yellow as it oozes its way toward the sea.  It is a
humbling experience to stand there and observe Earthly creation, like seeing the planet during its fiery adolescence.  In
most parts of the world, people dread active volcanoes, fearing death and destruction.  A huge explosion will send clouds of
ash and pumice into air, killing everything in its path.  In Hawai'i, people drop whatever they are doing and drive out to see   
assured that there is absolutely nothing alive beneath your feet except for the earth itself.  We've been there when people
from all over the world stand in awe, tears streaming down their cheeks as they tell their children, 'You may never see
anything like this again in your lifetime.'
"As freshly hardened pahoehoe lava cools, it stresses the silica coating on the outside.  The natural glass then crackles
and pops off the rock, creating subtle sounds that bewitch viewers.  Heat from the flows can be intense.  Many times we've
been less than a yard from the molten lava and felt like we would suddenly burst into flames.  Other times, the wind has
blown from the other direction so we could enjoy the liquid earth in comfort...
"A scene at night might go like this:  A crowd of about 50 people on a bluff overlooking a field of fresh pahoehoe.  It pops,
crackles and glows as the night consumes all.  What amazes us is how reverent everybody is.  Couples hold each other
tight.  People speak in soft whispers.  They try not to move much for fear of disturbing others as they watch Earth's most
primordial show.  Nobody wants to leave.  Watching the lava enter the sea at night never fails to impress, and we've been
told more times than we can count by visitors that it is an unsurpassed highlight."