Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kileua Caldera + Photos

We slept fitfully all night.  Nandini was in her car seat because the hotel had no crib and woke frequently.  Ryan's phone went off early over and over. 

Both kids started to seem to be on the other side of sleepy. 

Getting up was now inevitable. 

We packed up and headed out.  The drive was straight to the volcano but it was cloudy and rainy.  Our chances of seeing the volcano seemed dim. 

We pulled into the outlook parking lot and wondered where to go.  Suddenly Ryan spotted the glow of the lava pool. 


The word glow doesn't do it justice.  Our moods instantly lightened too. 

We were travel weary no more. Jet lag forgotten.  Nandini was chattering about the volcano to us while we posed for pictures.  (I'm so glad I turned the iso on my camera all the way up beforehand, even if we look super grainy it almost captures how intense the reflection of the lava was.  Another tip? Definitely skip the flash.)

 It felt truly awesome to be in the presence of the volcano.  We had the entire look out to ourselves.  That crater is the ancient home of Pele; it is not hard to understand why people felt a connection with god there.

We drove through most of the rest of the national park and even hiked a little bit too.  It might have helped if I had remembered my baby sling and didn't just use a very flimsy old scarf.


The lava tubes.  A very short hike through a little bit of jungle.  Avi was very intent on seeing animals there.  How to explain the lack of wildlife there to him?

Checking out the 1974 lava flows.  Nandini was totally chill all morning.  Avinash loved exploring and I loved showing him things.  He loved how you could see different colors and textures in the rocks there and was so worried about the trees.  We also found a piece of Pele's hair lava and he hasn't stopped talking about it since.

Pu'uloa hike to see the ancient pteroglyphs.  This hike was less than 1.5 miles round trip, but it somehow took a major toll on us.  I guess we are anywhere close to being in shape.  Both kids slept in our arms for this one, Nandini only briefly woke up.  The hike was pretty neat because there was no definite trail.  We followed other people's footprints and rock piles that were set up as guideposts along the way.  Because of the lava flows the ground was very uneven so we lost sight of the road and our car very early on.  I was so happy that were able to find our way there and back!


We drove all the way down to the ocean.  The scenery was gorgeous.   We didn't hike down here, the cliff was a little scary to be near with these two.  When we came here when I was growing up I remembering hiking around here with my Dad and brother to look for the lava flow. 
We didn't make it all the way because we kind of chickened out.  This time there were no active lava flows going on otherwise I think we would have been tempted. 


We went back in the evening at the end of our trip.  It was the perfect first and last look at Hawaii.  Avinash was soo excited to see it all again.  'member I went there last year Mommy?  Fire place!

You could really see the color get more intense as the sun went down further.  It is so amazing to be able to see a lava pool like this.  I remember going to Hawaii when I was younger and we tried to see lava from the ground but had to hike there.  We had to go before sunrise (which is why I had the idea this time around) but didn't see anything then. 


This is the Kileua caldera. This vent just opened up in 2008 and has been expanding ever since.  It feels so accessible and safe, yet so dramatic.  It is pretty amazing to think of the changes that have occurred here just in my lifetime.  We visited the volcano twice on this trip and it definitely made an impact on Avinash.  I hope it is something that he always remembers.


  1. What wonderful family memories! Great photos!

  2. Very very VERY cool! What a gorgeous place and family!

  3. Wow!! so cool! Came over from Kellys Korner - love your blog! Lauren @


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