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Hawaii : Volcanoes National Park III - Lava chasing in Kalapana

The current eruption along Kilauea's (the volcano) East Rift Zone started on January 3, 1983.
30 years and still ongoing. It is the longest recorded in history. The 2 trillion liters (1911387144960) are languid, but deadly stuff. Trees, houses, roads, villages and beaches have disappeared under the black tongues of lava:
- 1987, the coastal road to Puna was destroyed
- 1990, the entire village of Kalapana was destroyed
- 1994, Kamoamoa Beach was destroyed along with the most of sacred Waha'ula Heiau

Tragedy for the locals, great for the tourists who get the chance to actually see and touch flowing lava!

This is a story of perseverance, as much as it is a lesson on good planning so... Welcome to Kalapana!

After hiking the main trails of the park, we came back to the visitor center asking for more to walk. Someone in there told us "Here, where the road 130 ends is where the lava is… Just get there and walk for 2 hours"

We packed on sandwiches, water and sunscreen and head there. I guess that when we started walking, we hadn't really understood where we were at.

The terrain look like this, all over. No variation, no trail, no-thing. "Los caminos del señor son inexorables" they say. Well, I guess lava flow courses are too.

Things got a bit impressive when watching things such a car…

…or a greenhouse, just buried in lava.

The terrain was fragile, as if it was made of black glass. Broke as you stepped on it.

It certainly felt, like walking on the moon sometimes.

This could be layering of different flows or just the reminder of a melted car.

Cracks & curves, all over.

Maybe the most impressive environment I've ever been to.

Just as watching National Geographic, but in-your-face kind of.

At some point, we started to see smoke… And walked towards it.

Which was a clear mistake.

The closer we got to the smoke, the more unstable the terrain turned. No trace of glowing red lava flow.

We got more and more tired, more and more desperate. The rocks were hot, the lava wasn't there… What was going on?

After 3 hours, we decided to head back to the car. We had failed miserably, but succeed on staying strong, during those 5h of random wandering.

Failure, proved that planning is the essence of success.

2 days after, we came back prepared with the MAP prepared by the Volcano Observatory Website.

After 1h walk on the right direction there it was!! The lava flowing!

You can poke on it, the stick will burn. It does get a bit sketchy - really hot nearby - but cool too.

After seeing these rivers, we realized that the previous attempt put us in considerable danger. We were not chasing the lava, but walking OVER it. That made the terrain unstable, the gases toxic and the cracks steaming hot. So please, learn from our experience and ALWAYS follow a map (or join a guided tour).

Now back to the red glow under the grey skin, isn't it cool?

Some fire, yeeaah!

Here can we see some tubes that probably carried some lava to the sea too.



begotxu said...

Me quedo alucinada! Hawai está en mi lista de "must do"

Clau said...

Nosotros también lo flipamos bastante. Especialemente el primer día, cuando llegamos allí y vimos las casas en medio de la lava. A botepronto, te sorprende. Pero luego piensas "siempre hay flipados que sueñan con vivir en sitios así de raros".

Error. No son residentes, sino casas desiertas arrasadas por la lava.

Lo más interesante de todo es que los Hawaiianos tienen bastante facilidad al aceptar una desgracia tal como perder todas sus posesiones porque... Su cultura tradicional dice que el hombre no posee nada, es Pele la que lo crea y lo destruye todo. Los humanos no son más que meros inquilinos, lo que Pele te da, te lo quita a su voluntad.

Supongo que la naturaleza del Pacífico, en general, te hace más humilde. Pues contra fuerzas tales como terremotos, volcanes, tifones y tsunamis, poco puedes hacer.

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