Until now I can’t believe how magnificent The Big Island and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is. The entire island chain is the result of the volcanic activity, the ongoing birth of Hawaii. It’s one of a few places in the world where visitors can come face to face with an active volcano.
A day at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
We spent all day in the incredible Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We started out with a walk along the steaming sulphur banks on the rim of the crater. The rocky vents here have been coloured yellow, orange and neon green by the sulphuric gasses naturally released here daily. You can feel the heat by holding your hand above the cracked land and in places the steam is so strong that sometimes it’s hard to breath.
Fumes emitted here include sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide. These two gases react chemically to produce pure sulphur, a yellow mineral known to Hawaiians as the Waist of Pele (Volcano Goddess in Hawaiian mythology).
Those crystals are fragile and coated with sulphuric acid, so trying to touch them probably wouldn’t be a good idea. The smell of sulphur is quite strong and reminded me of rotten eggs, but it’s not something you couldn’t deal with.
Hiking down to the Kilauea Iki Crater floor
Hiking down to the Kilauea Iki Crater floor was fascinating. As soon as we touched base within the crater, it made me feel so small and my head was full of all sorts of thoughts… you know… what if it suddenly decided to erupt…
It was silent only for about 50 years after all… not for so long. But I pushed out all those thoughts and enjoyed the incredible experience. It was like I imagine it would be walking on the moon! The floor there is sort of soft and bouncy, and the warm steam is still coming out of the cracked earth.
Visiting the youngest and the most active volcano on earth
One of our goals in Hawaii was to visit the youngest and the most active volcano on earth. Kilauea in Hawaiian means ‘spewing’ referring to its frequent lava activity.
The first eruption of the volcano is recorded in 1823 and it has been actively erupting ever since. In older days, there was a possibility to come very close and walk around the rim of the crater, however the fume coming out of the volcano has been considered too toxic. Now the viewing platform is further away. Nonetheless a good spot to admire the living wonder of the island.
A drive down to the Sea Arch
To see the spectacular show of the volcano, you have to come back to the viewing platform later, after dark. While waiting for the darkness we had a breathtaking drive down to the Sea Arch.
We really recommend driving down to the Sea Arch, the view is spectacular!
Watching the glowing red lava
Needless to say it was one of the greatest days on the island, but the most amazing thing of all was watching the glowing red lava bubbling in the dark later on.
The view was hypnotising, like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Minutes later, like lots of other wonders of Hawaii, the red glow was covered by fog, but we didn’t move. We knew well by then that patience will be rewarded.
A group of tourists were chanting and singing for the volcano to reveal its enchanting beauty. We even convinced an older couple to stay and wait for the fog to shift. They weren’t too keen to start with as they arrived just a minute or two after the fog covered the glow. We kept them occupied and to their surprise, the fog started shifting away and the red glow was even brighter than the first time round. Happy ending for sure!
Have you visited the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park? Share your experience in the comments below…
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