So spake to me a gentleman hiker as we passed each other on the floor of the Kilauea Iki crater – site of the spectacular 1959 eruption.
Saving the best for last, to-day was spent at the Volcano. First up was the four-mile Kilauea Iki trail, a trip around the crater’s brink and through the tropical rainforest surrounding the crater, then down into and across the crater’s floor, and back up again to complete the loop. Completely awesome, of course – not least owing to the birdsong in the forest.
After the hike, I had just enough time to scoot over to the visitor center and screen the forty-minute film detailing the ‘59 and ‘60 events (the latter occurring in Kapoho). Some pretty incredible footage, combined with an overly dramatic score and a pre-irony narration made this a rather enjoyable work.
After lunch, it was time to head down the Chain Of Craters Road: a nineteen mile trip from the summit to the sea, with many a spectacular lookout along the way.
Also along the way, the Devil’s Throat: a hella deep crater (for its width). The signs all warn not to get too close to the edge, as it’s not uncommon for pieces to break off and fall in. Though it was most tempting indeed to ignore the warnings; I was able to resist.
Near the bottom of the Road is the Puu Loa petroglyph site. Actually a bit underwhelming, especially as compared with the Puako site in Kohala. The carvings here are more weather-worn and less enigmatic; and it’s difficult to get a good look at ‘em, because of restrictions against leaving the boardwalk. Still, pretty neat.
At the bottom is the Holei Sea Arch, which – for my money – rivals the Spitting Cave in all-out righteousness.
Of course, what would be a stop at a Puna coastline without some pics of massive waves battering the lava cliffs? (Answer: it would be the bunk!)
On the way back up to the summit, the road to the Hilina Pali is another of those one-lane winder jobs. Pace the guidebook, which figures the road to be “not impressive”, it’s a fucking wickedly surreal wonderland of fog-enshrouded Ohia trees on a bed of rolling lava.
The lookout itself was fairly socked in with clouds, so not as impressive as might’ve been. Farmer John highly recommends this location: says it’s the only place he knows of where it’s possible to simultaneously witness the moonrise and sunset.
Lastly, it was left for some jaw-droppingly stunning (if a bit chilly) twilight Volcano viewing; before returning here to the hostel to eat up the three avocadoes purchased yesterday in Kona – my last, sob, before leaving the Island.
I’ve said many times that photos don’t do Hawaii justice. Should probably oughta stress as well that neither do words – especially those written in regard to the Volcano; a truly staggering and humbling location.