Volcano National Park
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9/6/04

Going between Kona and Hilo we picked out a few places to stop along the way to check out. Our first two stops were South Point and Green Sands Beach. This is the southern-most point in the United States and has a strong wind constantly whipping across the area. Once again, the water was clear and blue, and there were good views all around. Since we had the Jeep, we figured we could 4x4 to the beach instead of hiking the couple miles there. Those rent-a-jeeps sure bottom out easily! It was a fun drive though. The beach was really cool; it was a secluded spot where the 22-South Point.jpg (153871 bytes) olivine is mixed in with the sand so the beach has a green tint. There were strong currents though. Back in the Jeep and on the main roads again we noticed that vegetation was even more green and lush the farther east we went. To help break up the day we decided to stop at the Punalu'u Black sand beach also. This was a cool little (but popular) spot with hot sand and cool water. There was even a giant sea turtle lounging on the beach26-Volcano.jpg (151560 bytes) posing for pictures. After some relaxing and a brief swim we were off to Volcano National Park. We drove around the crater checking out all the touristy stop-and-take-a-picture places. Walking through the lava tube was really wild, the first 300ft or so is lit up then the next 1000ft you need a 31-Volcano.jpg (172384 bytes) headlamp. This is the meaning of darkness! Afterwards we did a short hike through the Kileuea Iki Crater. Not too long ago this was a giant bubbling pool of lava. It was dusk at this point and we drove down the Chain of Craters road to the ocean where the lava is sometimes dripping in the ocean. Unfortunately, it wasn't while we were there.  Just a faint glow of red could be seen up on a ridge where the lava was at the surface. It was interesting to see the road that got covered by a lava flow and is no longer drivable. The entire park is really fascinating and wild to think that this is Mother Nature at work right in front of our eyes.

19-South Point.jpg (160691 bytes) Can ya tell which way the wind blows?; View along the southern coast 20-South Point.jpg (155770 bytes)

21-South Point.jpg (158462 bytes) Old fishing docks; Above the green sands beach 23-South Point.jpg (160413 bytes)

24-South Point.jpg (183117 bytes) Black sands beach; Turtle at the black sand beach 25-South Point.jpg (200697 bytes)

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