We woke up at about 5:30 and looked out to the crater from our room. Last night I dreamt that I saw a double rainbow out my window and I tried to run down and take a photo of it but it disappeared before I could get there. But reality was different. It was totally misty. Before we left the mist had cleared enough for us to see the steaming cliffs. It was a beautiful mysterious view, with streams of mist pouring off the side of the cliff, mostly enshrouded with fog.
We got to the trailhead at 6:00am. The place was misty and the fern trees were dripping, though no rain actually fell. There was no view at all from the overlook as we started down. It was enchanting hiking in a rain forest with the trees dripping and mist swirling around. As we started to descend into the crater, the mists started to part. The base of the crater was steaming. We saw the crater yesterday from the overlook and there was barely any steam coming out of the vents, but with all the rain that fell last night, the vents were pumping out large quantities of steam. It was eerie hiking on the crater floor. The first part had large mounds of smooth lava with cracks between the mounds, small hills to walk over. We passed right by some of the vents and we put our hand close to it. The steam was very hot, but had no real sulfur smell.
Next the lava was very broken up with a nice rift of cracked lava. You could see some of the different layers of broken lava, one layer was reddish the next greenish. Then the trail got harder to see. It went though a field of a'a lava. I was quite glad I brought my boots. The a'a lava was quite rough and scrapped the sides of my boots quite deeply a couple of times. Near here, there was a gash in the side of the cliff where part of the hill had broken off. It was a huge red scar on the side of the crater, quite beautiful.
This crater hike was the best hike we had been on and the best weather. The early mists added to the strange quality of the crater. By the time we got to the other side of the crater, the mists had totally cleared and the sun was out. In addition there was no one else here in the morning. We had the place all to ourselves - well except for one chicken. We did meet one person coming down as we ascended back up the sides of the crater.
We got back to the Volcano House and had some breakfast. I was starved. The food was good, but a little stale from sitting out since 7:00am.
We went and packed up and lo and behold I saw a rainbow out my window over the crater. I told Joel about my dream and he took a picture out the window, and then went down to take a photo, but he was indeed too late and it had disappeared by then.
After packing up we toured the Art Center across the street. Some of the pieces were quite lovely, especially the wood. My favorite was a table by the entrance.
Once we got to Hilo we stopped at the Lyman Museum. Joel was quite unhappy with me. He thought the first thing we were doing was hiking, but no I stopped at a museum. He had on his hiking shoes. So we waited while he changed them. But the museum was very nice and has some nice artifacts. It also has a beautiful shell collection and a mineral collection. We skipped the Chinese exhibit and the Japanese exhibit, as we were mostly interesting in the Hawaiian artifacts.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. We went up Highway 19 until about mile 7 and we went on the scenic road. It was quite beautiful, with trees hanging over the road. But it was hard to take photos since there was no place to turn out. It was a very narrow twisty road.
It was past our lunchtime and we were hungry and wanted a picnic. So we stopped at Kolekole Beach Park. It was a pretty little park, mostly used by the locals. One older boy swam across the stream to a rope swing and swung out over the river doing a flip as he jumped in.
After lunch we backtracked bit to go to Akaka Falls. Our book said it was a hike of 15-20 min. We beg to differ. It is a stroll on a paved path. It is not a hike at all. But we saw the falls, including two other falls. The landscape was beautiful too. The flowers were all in bloom. The vines dripped off the trees and the bamboo forest sprung up around the stream banks. I wish I could have taken some of the bamboo home. It was just lovely.
We went just past mile marker 16 to the bridge and looked at the falls there, then backtracked to a side road with the World Botanical Gardens. We dropped Mom and Beth off there. They wanted to see Umaumu Falls the easy way. The rest of us wanted to go up the steam until we hit the falls. We gave ourselves 30 minutes for half a mile of hiking in the stream. But after the half hour, we still were too far away to see it. So we had to turn around. It was a very hard hike and we had to wade through the river with very slick rocks. Joel and I were wiped out by the hike, though Ben loved it and was rearing to keep going. When we got back down, we went a few yards down stream and looked at the smaller falls there. Not quite as good as Umaumu, but not too bad. Then it was back to the gardens to pick up the rest of our crew.
We were tired so we elected to go along the scenic road, but not stop anywhere on the way home, well except for gas.
Mom made us a quick meal back at the condo before we crashed. Thanks Mom.
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Text and images © Copyright 2001 Joel and Daphne Gould. If there are any problems or questions email Daphne Gould.