Thursday and Friday, May 30 and 31
Our house in Volcano Village was ideally ideally situated for exploring the south end of the island.
Thursday morning we had a very nice breakfast at the Kilauea Lodge, just a few hundred yards form our house. Then we spent some of the morning catching up on laundry and chores. The house is at more than 3,700 feet and in a rain forest. Note the “rain” part. It rained–lightly or heavily–most of the time we were there but we were very comfortable.
The house is situated about 2 miles from the entrance to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The rain was pouring down when we arrived at the park station. We got some information and started exploring. At our first crater overlook there were too many clouds and too much rain to see very far, but we got a good look at many steam vents. Fortunately, the wind was blowing the steam away from us so were were not subjected to the awful sulfur smell. When I say that the wind was “blowing,” think of a gale-force wind.
We drove to a second overlook and started hiking along the rim trail when, all of a sudden, the weather partially cleared. We were able to see across the crater and down to the bottom. The rain even stopped–for a while. Since last year’s eruptions ended, there isn’t any lava flowing, but the craters and the lava fields are impressive on their own. the park has good signage so we could see how old many of the flows are.
After our hike along the crater, we went to a lava field and walked around–carefully–looking at the different kinds of flows. I think Noah really liked that. As we finished there, the rain began again. It worked out great for us.
For dinner, we ate at another restaurant close to the house in Volcano Village. Thai Thai (its name) serves Thai (surprise) food. We each made different choices and each of us liked what we got. Noah says that Thai food is new to him so he had lots of questions and sampled everything.
Thursday evening, Noah and I watched part of a 1960s movie called “Jason and the Argonauts.” I mention this because the movie involves a lot of stop-motion photography (for the monsters, of course) and Noah knows a lot about stop motion and was able to educate me.
Friday morning we drove to Punalu`U Beach, a famous black sand beach. When we left Volcano Village, it was raining, overcast, and 62 degrees. 30 miles later (and mostly down the volcano’s slope) it was clear and in the high 80s. The beach really is more like small black rocks than all sand, but there is quite a bit of black sand.
Green sea turtles are often found on the beach and Friday was no exception. We saw quite a few of these large, slow-moving turtles. They are a protected species but we could still get close enough to take pictures. Noah and Patricia explored the shoreline and we climbed some of the large black lava rocks to get a view of the beautiful beach.
After a break at the house, we went back to the volcano park and drove almost to the end of the road, which took us close to the sea. So, again, we went from a high altitude to near sea level. The road was quite twisty. We stopped at a trail-head and hiked .7 mile to an area of the Pu`u Lua petroglyphs. The area is of great cultural significance to the Hawaiians and should be respected by everyone. The path there and back is over a lava field and is quite rough. Once again, Noah impressed us by making the trip with no complaints and without getting tired and being interested in everything he saw. In fact, Noah stopped at almost every cairn and added a rock.
Patricia and I had been here years ago and we were glad to be back. The petroglyphs here are pretty different from what we have seen in New Mexico. For one thing, there seems to be a smaller variety of symbols and we didn’t see any spirals. We enjoyed the visit in part because we had also taken Noah to the Mesa Prieta petroglyphs when he visited us in New Mexico and these were all new to him.
We ate dinner at Thai Thai again. We all ordered something different from the night before and we all enjoyed our meals.
We really enjoyed our time in Volcano Village and the south part of the island and Noah is such a good traveler that he added to our enjoyment.