In which we perambulate through Volcanoes National Park
Herewith the view from our porch/park bench. As usual, clik on the pic for a much bigger version- usually over screen size.
Yours truly by the fire, sated with cheese, grapes, bread, and other well known health foods:
We drove the Crater Rim Drive, stopping for a half mile hike on the Thurston Lava Tube trail, which was a real winner. The trail goes thru rain forest which is pretty much solid ferns, thru the tube itself, and looped back to the beginning. Here is one of the flowers along the way:
Maybe it's an orchid, but my flower books leave me less than positive.
ADDENDUM: I am reliably informed that said flower is a fuschia. Clik here and scroll down to "ONAGRACEAE", then clik on "fuschia". Thanks, Beryl!
Valerie at the fern covered entrance to the lava tube:
There were tree ferns everywhere along the way. The big ones here produce a mass of reddish brown wooly hairs which can be used as an antibiotic bandage.
From there we drove down the Chain of Craters Road,
nineteen miles to the sea cliffs where a lava flow cut off the road. Those dark streaks flowing down the mountainside in the landscape above are lava flows from 1969-74. If you clik for a bigger version, you can see the beginnings of plants establishing themselves in the lower corners.
I thought plowing snow was a pain. Yes, that's the road in front of us.
Here are some lava ropes. Don't ask me how they are formed. I can speculate, but that's all. Google it yerself if interested.
The ohi'a lehua tree is among the first plants to colonize a lava field, but here are some hard working ferns doing their best.
Thinking of ohi'a lehua, the higher parts of the park are lousy with them. It can range from a bush to a 100+ foot tall tree. There are a number of endemic Hawaiian birds which dote on it. Here is a pic of o'hia,
but we didn't have a lens up to capturing a picture of an i'iwi, so you'll have to make do with this link. They are very neat birds, and lots of them to be seen from the walkway at Volcano House. The Hawaiians used to use their feathers for their feather capes, cloaks, helmets,and leis.
OK, back to lava. You have to park about a half mile from where the Department of Public Works has failed to do its plowing, and walk in. By the parking area is the Holei Sea Arch. Everybody takes pictures of it. So did we.
Once at the petroglyphs, there is a circular boardwalk so you can see the majority of them without having to walk on the rocks and damage the glyphs. The little blue speck on the walk at the top left, is Valerie.
Here are a couple of the petroglyphs:
We got back to the car without mishap and headed up the mountain again, where we found a place to pull off the road just short of Kealakomo and built sandwiches for a late lunch while looking down on the lava fields and sea.
Then to Kilauea where we stopped long enough to photograph a road sign warning about the ever elusive nene,
of which there are fewer than 500 left. While habitat destruction has taken its toll, the major problems far and away are biological pollution in the form of mongoose and feral cats, which eat eggs and young. A flock was re-introduced to Kaua'i, which has no mongoose, and the population is apparently doing quite well.
We stopped at the Jaggar Museum on the rim of Kilauea and checked out the volcano exhibits. On the way out what did we find but three nene walking around just outside the sidewalk rail, eating grass seed and ohi'a lehua blossoms. They spent about 20 minutes walking placidly about, posing for the small group of people who had the faintest idea what they were seeing. Most people walked on by, which was probably just as well as they didn't disturb the guys.
Above: That's Kilauea caldera in the background, while the depression within it on the left is Halema'uma'u Crater.
Striding through the ohi'a lehua.
You can see the neck patch from the ancestral Canada goose which made it at least 2400 miles from the Mainland:
We had a good rest in camp that night.