Thursday, January 30, 2014

Eastern Point

Three days of inactivity drove Reggie up the wall, so we jumped in the car and headed north to the eastern-most point of Hawaii.  The route took us along the coast but above the tsunami line, past Volcano National Park (and the arty village of Volcano) and down to the end of Crater Road.  We passed Mauna Loa but as usual, it was hidden by clouds.  This is the other end of the road from Kilauea that was cut by the eruption of 1987 and never really reopened.  The state is rehabilitating the land and homeowners burnt-out by the lava flow are rebuilding on top of it.  We had hoped to get to the lava viewing point, even though no flows were active today, but for some reason, the site is only open from 3PM to 9PM and we were too early.

About-faced and wound down smaller and smaller roads towards the Eastern-most point of Hawaii and a promised lookout.  The one-lane road was lined with expensive homes (how'd they get the trucks in here?) and chi-chi shops.  Being in a rainier part of the island, the vegetation was particularly abundant and lush; trees converging to form a tunnel over the road.

Still too early, we went to the seaward end of the flow where the land reclamation is in full swing.  What Paul at first took to be palm trees spontaneously sprouting from the naked rock, proved to be planted as part of the reclamation process.  Planting a coconut tree consists of throwing a coconut on the ground.

Finally, we zoom-zoomed off to the lava viewing site to find we were still 40 minutes too early.  That was enough for Paul, since there were apparently no active flows here today anyway, so we turned about and headed home.  When we arrived at the village of Na'alehu, near our B&B, we took a side road up to a nearby hilltop and got a great panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.

We tend to see the green hills as normal and the lava fields as devastation.  In reality, everything is lava.  All ground on the islands came from volcanoes.  All rocks are lava.  Stone walls are black lava. There is only lava.

Toxic fumes rising from Kilauea in the distance

Every lump and bump is a volcano

Land reclamation with coconuts

Lava being reclaimed

Black sand beach at reclamation project

Eastern end of Hawaii

Trees covering road

End of Chain of Craters Road buried by lava.  Temporary road on right

Owners rebuilding on lava field

Village of Na'alehu from the hill/volcano

Giant flower at B&B.  It's a Queen Emma Lily.

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