|Looking across rain forest to a wall of frozen lava|
(Did you know that FBI stands for "From the Big Island"?) It was almost 40 years ago that I started to dream about seeing Kilauea firsthand, having been introduced to the incredible resource we have here in the national park through my first geology class at William and Mary. (Makes me feel ancient... 40 years is a lot of years.) That was back in the day when the understanding of Plate Tectonics was not that old. Two days ago we had the most wonderful hike, through a rain forest, across a bit of the caldera (sunken crater of the volcano) of Kilauea,
|The caldera floor of Kilauea|
up through another bit of rain forest, down across the diameter of Kilauea Iki (Little Kilauea, a side caldera created in the 1970's), and up again through the rain forest. The caldera is still smoking in some areas where the rain water can get down to the heat of the magma chamber and be turned to steam.
|The pathway across Kilauea Iki. It felt like crossing into Mordor...|
Today we returned to the park and walked through a light drizzle to the deposits of sulfur and more steaming terrain near the rim of Kilauea. We got to go back through the rain forest trail. It is called Halemaumau, which is pronounced ha LAY ma OO ma OO. More about the fantastic spiral forms we encountered in the next blog post.
We were able to see a beach made of a large percentage of olivine, which is the first mineral to crystallize out of a magma as it cools. The beach is green from a distance--looks like a greenish khaki color (hence you see why "olivine" is called "olivine"). The exciting thing about this is that it's apparently one of the very few green beaches in the world; and to get there we took a crazy 4-wheel-drive ride from a local guy making a few bucks with his jeep. Today we went to a black sand beach. There the sand is finely eroded particles of lava, not individual black minerals. This beach was terrific because it is home to some Hawaiian green sea turtles and one big old turtle was up on the beach for a sun.
A few days back we visited a Kona coffee plantation and I've sent some coffee back for coffee hour--it will probably be there for May 22, I'd guess, via the USPS.
|The coffee store at Greenwell Farms, the largest grower of Kona coffee.|
Work on The Artist's Way continues apace and is most interesting and actually fun.
We hope all is well back in Redding and in every place where someone may be reading this.