After getting back from Mississippi on the 24th, I went to the Big Island the very next day! This was my first time using my new backpack. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a host like I did for Kaua’i, but I was able to sleep in my rental car. This time I made sure to create a detailed list of all the places I planned to visit and how long it would take for me to complete them! Comparing these posts to my Kaua’i posts, I think you’ll notice I got to do and see a lot more this way.
I planned to be there from the 25th to the 28th, and for my first day I went to the Volcano National Park! My first stop was the Kilauea Crater. Kilauea is the most active volcano in the entire world!
This was my first time in a volcano! I absolutely loved the terrain. It kind of brought me back to the Koko Crater Arch, where the multicolored rocks reminded me of being on the moon. I didn’t see any lava while I was there, but just being able to see the smoke billowing out from the crater was a great experience. The trail around the crater was mostly rock with ʻōhiʻa lehua trees everywhere. These trees were huge, too, compared to the few that I’ve seen hiking ridges on O’ahu. The trail around the crater eventually led me to the steam vents.
After checking out the other sulphur banks, I headed to the Thurston Lava Tubes. Lava tubes are natural tunnel formations inside of a volcano created by lava flow. The lava tube is pretty short, but it’s a neat experience regardless.
My next destination, the Kilauea Iki Trail, was right next to the lava tubes. Kilauea Iki takes you down into the crater. There were some more steam vents down here, too! The terrain is mostly flat but there are some cracks in the Earth that I loved. It took me about an hour and a half to walk all the way to the end and back.
I was pretty tired after finishing up Kilauea Iki, having been up since 5am and hiking for around 6 miles. The last thing that I definitely wanted to see was the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs. I stopped at some neat places along the way.
It is about a mile hike to the Petroglyphs. At this point, my entire body was hurting, but this was the last hike of the day, so I kept going!
The purpose of these petroglyphs is to keep track of ancestry. Pu’u Loa means “hill of long life.” When a baby was born, they were brought here. Their umbilical cord was removed and placed in the puka (or hole) in the rock. There were a lot of cool designs made with the puka, and I was happy I decided to hike out there even though I was tired.
And with that, I was done with the Volcano National Park! All in one day. Whew. I really wish I would’ve had the chance to hike down to the Kileau Crater, which I think might be possible based on a map I saw at a trailhead. I took my rental car back to the Walmart parking lot, where I put the seats of my 2015 Mustang down and slept in the trunk haha. I definitely learned the importance of a sleeping bag on this trip.