Day Three: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Jaggar Museum

saw the stream coming out the active lava lake in the Kilauea cauldron

Wild Cave Tour

Cave found the 1996 while putting up fence to keep the wild pigs out of the park. It is a lava tube that has not been harmed by humans. Inside are stalagtites formed during the lava – probably 1490′s, lichen crystals, roots, water from condensation, bath tub rings from various flows during that time, areas where the ceiling has fallen in, no puddles due to the porious lava rock. Kupono shared with us the Hawaiian traditions of burial in lava tubes, and played the nose flute done with the HA breath.

Geology – Lava tubes: stalagtites, bath tub lines,types of lava – a’a and smooth – , lava rows, lava rivers, lava lakes, craters, cauldrins, steam vents with SO2, reticulite, pele tears, pele hair, rift zones, magma chambers, hot spot with the pacific plate moving over this zone. Newest part of Hawaii – Loihi 3000 ft down in the ocean. Most lava eruption are fairly calm, only when water is mixed in does it become violent. Current lava flowing out of Pu’ u’ O’ o and the crater in Kilauea

Ecology – Native plants: ohilo berries, tall tree, tree fern, fiddle fern, plant that is only found in cooled lava, lichen, moss

Invasive plants – portugese tree, orchid, many others

Animals – wolf spider, cricket, birds

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Day Two: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Aka: hike your socks off. Met Brian & Tim Tunison at the vistors center and made our way to the Mauna Ulu parking lot.

Meeting Brian, his mom and Tim Tunison at the vistor's center to begin our hike.

A little background about my guides.

Brian is the institute coordinator for the Friends of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, who was able to put together this “institute on demand”. Previously he worked as an educator specializing in working with students with (dis)abilites coordinating programs to allow them to experiences our nations national parks, and particularily volcanoes national park.

Tim is a retired national park service chief of resource management who’s focus was on native and invasive species.  Tim spearheaded many programs in the park to encourage the growth of native species and eliminate or reduce the occurance of invasive plants and animals.  One of his most successful projects was setting up fences all throughout the park to keep wild pigs out and then allowing hunters to come in and take out the rest of the population.  The effects of this project can be seen throughout the park as native tree ferns flourish, who otherwise would be stripped to the ground.  Another study that spanned 10 years was collecting native plant seeds and attempting to propogate them within a controlled environment, then introducing them back into their native environment.  The collection process alone was amazing to hear about as it took him to all corners of the park, down into craters, and along the ocean edge.  It was even more amazing at the end of the hike after hiking for 15 miles over lava rocks – not an easy way to travel.

On our way to the trail head we stopped to see our 1st crater appropriately named “Devil’s Throat”! This amazing collapsed crater goes straight down for about 400 feet, and is off the beaten path, but with Tim as our guide we are sure to see many things not others get to see.

Devils' Throat pit crater. Watch where you step!

Our 15 mile hike began at the Mauna Ulu parking lot where we followed a trail with posted numbers pointing to the remarkable volcanic structures and events that occured during the erruption of Mauna Ulu from 1969-1974.  This is where I had my introduction to the  pahoehoe lava – it is smooth and ropy, it forms lava rows, lave roses or smooth rolling hills; a’a lava – lava that is VERY rough and was formed when heat and gas were released from the pahoehoe lava leaving spiky hard lava. has , up Mauna Ulu, then to the Napau crater and back down to the Alanui Kahakai parking lot. This adventure took us through the variety of Hawai’i ‘s ecosystems: recent lava without much growth, up a shield volcano, along craters with and without vegetation, through older lava that has much more vegetation and rain forest. Our conversations with Tim focused on the native and invasive plant species in the park and their efforts to try and control the invasive species to allow the native species to flourish. The continuing presence of lava and the plants that are able to survive in this environment are part of a delicate ecosystem that characterizes all of the the Hawaiian islands, but more specifically Hawai’i because of the constant change in the landscape. Since Hawai’i is constantly being shaped by lava the results are drastic. In a matter of a few miles a person can walk through a rainforest thick with ferns, trees, flowers and the next be standing in the barren after effects of a lava flow that took anything and every thing in its wake.

Hiking up Mauna Ulu was very impressive.  Taking Tim and Brian’s advice we hiked along the side of a volcano river, it seems this way there is less chance of falling through the crust that looks hard has series of hollow spaces

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Day One: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Arrived at volcano, checked into KMC which is located right inside Volcanoes National Park.  From our lodgings we can see Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea! It is very winding with cooler temperatures since we are at 4000 ft. I’m looking forward to getting to know this place over the next few days.

Entrance to Kilauea Military Camp, my homebase for 4 nights.

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