Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hawaii-Journey to the Big Island Part 3- Volcano 2

The glowing crater at sunset is spectacular, but there is far more to see and do in Volcano National Park. The Chain of Craters Road is 11 miles long ending at sea level. Various stops along the way provide a chance to see the flora that eventually returns after eruptions. At one stop we encountered a pheasant looking for crumbs in the parking lot. While they are supposed to be rare, we saw at least six pairs of Nenes, the National Bird of Hawaii. They also could care less about our presence, except when they cross the road. These birds are closely related to Canada Geese, their ancestors probably blown off course several hundred years ago.

The drive arrives at vistas of the Pacific from various heights ultimately at sea level.

The drive is not a spectacular one and it is long. Signs of the devastation wrought by various eruptions can be seen along the road at pullouts. There is also a trail (Devastation) that provides a close up of nature's fury.

But you should not miss the lava tube. Avoid crowds by going early in the morning.

Not in the main part of the park, but off of #11 across from the Jaggar Museum is a short hike where the main attractions are the birds. Here you'll encounter wild chickens, roosters, an occasional pheasant and many small birds. The circular hike is about a mile and worth it.

On to Kona!

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