jen yu: hawai'i 2005 - day 5

hawai'i 2005 - day 5

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makaopuhi crater, volcano art center
february 7, 2005
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We slept in until 6 am! But instead of rushing around to get someplace else, we left our tent (squatting on the good site for another night) and drove down to Mauna Ulu trailhead for a hike. It was sunny (and humid and very windy). We followed little markers on the lava for over a mile to the turn off for Pu'u Huluhulu cinder cone (I know, same name as the kipuka off Saddle Road). The turnoff was a welcome detour as the soft dirt trail climbed up a forested hillslope to the edge of the jungly crater with a great 360 degree view.

Our path would follow the barren lava fields across to Makaopuhi Crater, marked by rock cairns. These cairns were well placed. Deviating from the path, we discovered some surfaces could not sustain our weight - dodgy terrain. The nature of pahoehoe and how it cools means that stepping on it crushes and releases little bits of glass into the wind, to be whipped at your face, your eyes, into your throat. This was not fun at all. At the edge of Makaopuhi, we came upon a fern forest. It was a welcome change as it sheltered us from the sun and wind, the trail was soft dirt underfoot, and it was much cooler and easy on the eyes. This portion continued for about 2 miles skirting the rim of the giant crater until we (sadly) reached the edge of the forest.

At this point, we stopped for lunch. I had all sorts of irritants on my contacts and was dreading hiking back over the lava at the hottest time of day. We turned back, enjoying the forest and then making quick time across the lava (it was quite warm) back to the Pu'u Huluhulu junction. We hadn't seen a single hiker yet. Then from the junction back to the car, we saw all sorts making their way to the cinder cone. There were a lot of pale and pudgy people visiting Hawaii. It's very weird.

We rehiked Devastation Trail as Jeremy had promised me, so I could take some pictures on a non-pouring day. It is a 1 kilometer hike on a paved path to the rim of Kilauea Iki Crater. On our return, we were stopped by a man with his family in tow. He demanded, "How far to the end?" My god, they couldn't have been walking for more than 5 minutes. We said 5 more minutes. He then demanded, "What's at the end?" I kept my initial response to myself and I told him "the crater". Without another word, he marched on. I didn't even have the privilege of being in a foreign country to feel ashamed of my fellow mainlander.

Back at the Visitor Center restrooms by 3, we decided to take a leisurely afternoon and purchased some gifts and munchies at the Volcano House. We visited the Volcano Art Center which I didn't think I would like, but I really loved and then wrote postcards on a picnic bench nearby. We drove into the town of Volcano for dinner at Thai Thai. The food is expensive, and mediocre. The Mahi Mahi curry was too salty, the pad thai was too sweet, the tofu was not tender. Back at camp, we downloaded my pictures to the ipod, sorted our bags and got settled in for the night.

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