|Frozen Lava Flow|
The Chain of Craters drive in Hawaii Volcanoes national park is one place on earth you can see the earth reinventing itself. The sheer scale of the scenery with new lava flows taking over old land to form new landscapes gives you a sense how devastating volcanoes can be. We could see massive tracts of frozen lava spread from the peaks of the mountains to the very edges of the ocean. New land was being added to the Big Island of Hawaii even as we were driving down this road. The Chain of Craters road starts off the Crater Rim drive just past the Kilauea Iki crater. The road runs all the way from the top of the mountain till the ocean descending close to 4000 ft over a span of 30 miles. This road gets it's name from the numerous craters which we came across along the length of the drive. We started down this road around noon after a visit to the Kilauea Iki Crater. The initial portion of the road went through a rain forest but soon it started opening up. We came up on the first few craters along the road.
|November 1979 Lava Flow|
All the craters seemed relatively small compared to the Kilauea crater. We stopped at a couple of craters to take photographs. What was more interesting was sign posts along the length of the road indicating recent lava flows. We came across sign posts all the way back from 1970's to as new as the 1990's. The realization that a couple of decades back there was hot lava flowing across this road was an amazing feeling. The the newer lava fields were more rugged compared to the old ones. It was as though nature was slowly molding the lava rock into habitable land like the rain forests. There were even a couple of Nene resting on the road along the way and seemed unperturbed by us. They even let us get some good pictures of them relaxing in the Sun.
Further down the road the ocean finally came into view and here were some of the most spectacular sceneries in the whole drive.We could see the complete lava fields from the point of eruption all the way to the to the point where they flowed into the ocean. I guess the elevation was just right to put everything in the right perspective. We stopped at a view point from where we could see the frozen lava from the Mauna Ulu volcano flowing all the way to the ocean. The best part about these lava fields was that the surface was smooth unlike the rest of the park where it was more rugged. The entire area seemed to reflect the sun light like a huge mirror. It was a sight to remember. In spite of it being a little windy we stood there to enjoy the breath taking scenery. After that it was quick descent down to the ocean and time to take a stroll on a real lava field. We found this arch craved out by the ocean just as we parked our car at the End of Chain of Craters drive parking lot. The road beyond this point was closed due to recent lava flows. But, the drive back was just as amazing with the clouds making way for the Sun. This is a drive where we got a chance to walk on the most recent patch of ground any where in the world. I don't know if one day this place would probably be somebodies home or a resort but today it's an untouched pristine piece of land reinvented everyday...