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Volcanoes National Park

There are not many places on Earth that are like the Volcanoes National Park.  This panoramic view of the Kilauea caldera was taken from the walkway that is directly behind the Volcano House.  Imagine a hotel built on the rim of an active volcano!  While there has not been an eruption in the caldera for some time, just imaging in the early days when there was molten lava in the caldera.  It must have been quite a sight.

To the right is a fire in the Volcano House lobby fireplace.  What is unique about this fire is it has been continuously burning since 1877.  It was started even before this particular fireplace was built in the preceding Volcano House.  They actually took the burning logs from the old fireplace and moved them to this location!  It was once actually in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest burning fireplace fire.

 

 

Across the road from the Volcano House is the Kilauea Military Camp where veterans can come and stay for cheap.  Everybody else must stay in the Volcano House or their cottages. The rates are not terrible as far as National Parks go, but there are less expensive lodging available just outside the park.

 

 

Around the Crater Rim Drive just a little ways are some steam vents that are caused by rain water seeping down to the hot lava below.  As you watch the steam billow up, you are reminded there is molten lava just a few feet below you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another short drive will bring you to the Sulfur Vents where the steam and hot water has brought up sulfur deposits and colored the ground and rocks yellow and a sort of greenish yellow.  Visitors with respiratory problems are warned about visiting these deposits.

 

 

 

The road goes right down into the caldera.  Talk about spooky!  One year my wife and son decided to hike across the caldera.  It took them several hours and I was about ready to send out the rangers when they came into the Volcano House where we were staying that year.  Why we didn't have cell phones, I don't know.

 

The last lava flow out of the caldera was in 1974!  That's not that long ago. 

Along the road down in the caldera the landscape looks more like a moonscape.

 

The area is so virile that plants will grow just about anywhere, even in cracks in the lava.

 

Posted by Richard Binckley at 2/9/2006 4:26 PM | View Comments | Add Comment |