Photos 8, page 6
Photos 8 -
Photos 8 -
Napua Crater Trail again
July 30, 2011
Napua Crater Trail again!  I wanted to go out and check out the camping area next to Napau Crater.  I was thinking about  
doing an overnight out there and exploring some of the area the next day.  This trip started out wonderful and ended up
seriously miserable!  First of all, it's a long one, 6 miles out, 6 back.  Secondly, the weather turned really nasty before I got
out there, making the rest of the trip a drag!
On the way out (green line), I cut a few corners.  On the way back (magenta line), I followed the trail.  Looking at the trail on
the map, it swoops in these big loops.  Why not just go straight across?  Firstly, this is not level ground.  
(When I start out at
the car, I'm at an elevation of 3226.  The pass between
Pu'u Huluhulu and Mauna Ulu is at 3355 and is the highest point of the trip.  After that, it
goes down to 3190, up to 3288, then down to 2677 at
Napau Crater with lots of ups and downs in between.  So essentially, on the way back,
it's uphill all the way to
Pu'u Huluhulu then, blessedly, downhill to the car.  No wonder I get so tired on the way back!  Pu'u Huluhulu is 3440
Mauna Ulu is 3450.)  What's more important, however, is the fact that the lava on the straight line is "rotten".  It's all
broken up and in a lot of places, the crust is only an inch or so thick and when you step on it, it breaks through.  Usually
only a foot or so, but the edges carve up my legs pretty good.  A couple of times I almost fell, which would be a really bad
thing...  On the way back, I stayed on the trail, on a tested surface, such as it is...
11:54:48 AM @ *910
Looking back at
Mauna Loa with the
plume from
11:57 AM @ *910
Looking ahead, I want to go around to
the right of that little ridge.
12:00 Noon @ "Wind"
The little ridge
12:00 @ "Wind"
The little ridge contained a lava lake...
I called this point "Wind" because once I mounted the ridge, there was a brisk 20 mph wind in
my face that continued the whole trip - and got worse as the day went on...
Looks like a beautiful day, doesn't it?  Temperature around 70.  Perfect.  Just wait...
12:02 PM in the lava lake
Looking over the ridge at the top of
Pu'u Huluhulu
12:04 PM
This must have been something...
12:05 PM
Looking over the shoulder of
(on the right) at the hill next to
Makaopuhi Crater.  Just beyond that
Pu'u O'o
12:05 PM
That's a hell of a zoom!
12:16 PM @ *929
Some lava formations for you...
Try and understand how these got
12:17 PM
12:35 PM @ *944
I just came through that crap!
12:40 PM @ "TRL"
Mauna Ulu
12:40 PM
Zoom.  More gadgets on the top...
12:41 PM @ "TRL"
Looking back at the trail, marked by
stone cairns, called
12:52 PM @ *954
Looking ahead to
Makaopuhi Crater.  
It's all downhill from here...
Notice the clouds...
1:21 PM @ *958
1:21 PM @ *958
A quick look into the crater.  Must be
old with all the trees growing in it.
1:23 PM
The trail goes into those woods.  I'm
really looking forward to getting out of
the wind!
1:24 PM @ "Woods"
Ahhh!  No wind! And nice soft footing!
1:33 PM @ *963
Isn't this nice?
1:35 PM @ "Jct"
This sign was put here because of the
March 5, 2011 eruption.
1:43 PM @ *966
Makaopuhi Crater
Ulu and crossed to the left side of the  
and crossed to the left side of the
1:46 PM @ "Marker"
A USGS survey marker
I can read most of it but can't find an
elevation number
1:51 PM @ *968
This is a little side trail that leads to a
overlook of the crater... if you dare!
2:14 PM @ "Old Pulu Factory"
If you can't read the sign, it says,

Yeah, but how did they get in and out of here?
2:21 PM
Sign says, "NAPAU CAMPSITE" to the
left and "NAPAU OVERLOOK" to the
2:26 PM near "Camp"
A fine example of a tree mold.  The lava flows around the tree and cools as the
sap boils off.  The tree finally burns away, leaving this mold...
4:48 PM @ *976
through.  My glasses got so fogged I had to take them off to see.  I checked out the camp area - nothing more than a
cleared spot in the jungle - and tried to find the trail that continued on toward
Pu'u O'o.  I couldn't find it and I was getting
thoroughly wet and tired so I headed over to the overlook and got there around 2:40 PM.  I got my gear off, sat down for
the first time since I started,and ate an energy bar.  If the weather were any better I would have sat a little longer, but I just
harnessed up again and headed back around 3:00 PM, my feet squishing wetly in my saturated boots.
The temperature was probably near 60 degrees and there was a constant wind blowing at 25-30 mph at my back
(fortunately!) and it was COLD!  I was wearing the lightest clothes possible: a pair of loose athletic shorts with those little
holes in them and a vented lightweight cotton shirt, soaking wet and plastered to my skin.  My hat was so soaked it was
dripping in my face.  And I was tired.  I'd been hiking now for five hours with hardly a break.  It was a constant uphill climb
for 3 miles that completely drained me.  I wasn't in any danger, I was just miserable.  I thought a lot about how quickly the
weather can change here.  I also thought about how easy it would be to get caught out here.  Just a slip, a turned ankle,
and things could get ugly.  I also thought about the fact that no matter how much I didn't want to do this anymore, I still had
to do it.  I had no choice if I ever wanted to get back to the car.  I couldn't just stop doing it...
I think there's a lesson in there somewhere...
12 miles, 7 hours
Elevation gain/loss +974/-424 (twice!)
What I'd had in mind was to hike out as I did but camp overnight and do some exploring the next day.  I'd be much better
rested...  That round trip is pretty stiff for me...  But how do I assure good weather?  Once you get off the lava flows, it's a
freakin' rain forest!  It could be totally dry everywhere else and it could be raining there!
eruption of Mauna Ulu.  This event was
well-observed and -documented by people
who are still working for the Hawaiian
Volcano Observatory