Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is located on the Big Island of Hawaii. Two active volcanoes lie within the boundaries of the park, Mauna Loa, the most subaerial volcano in the world and Kīlauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. A beautiful native story explains how Pele, the Fire Goddness, created the Hawaiian Islands and volcanoes within them .

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The Fire Goddess and the Creation of the Hawaiian Islands. 

Pele, is the Goddess of Fire or the Goddess of the Volcanoes. If you think of the attributes that a volcano has (unpredictability, passion, power, destructive), Pele holds these same personality traits, including a big temper and a lot of jealousy. Pele and her sister, Nā-maka-o-Kahaʻi, Goddess of the Sea, were fighting and Pele’s temper grew out of control,  so Pele was exiled from her home and country.

Pele first arrived on the island of Kauai and stuck her Pa’oa or o’o stick deep into the ground of Kauai, but Nā-maka-o-Kahaʻi, and stopped her from doing any further damage. Pele recovered from this attack from her sister, and moved to Oahu. She stuck her o’o stick deep into the soil of Oahu with more power this time, but her sister still came and once again stopped her from continuing on with her temper tantrum.

However, Pele only grew more furious and more powerful. Pele tried to make a home on Maui as well, but the sisterly feud continued, which led Pele to the big Island of Hawaii. Story has it, that when Pele used her o’o stick Island of Hawaii, she was very powerful and she dug her last fire pit, creating the Halema’uma’u Crater of Kilauea.

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Many believe that Pele still resides in the Kilauea Volcano to this day.

There is something to be said about stories passed down from our ancestors and the few Hawaiian legends we were told during our short stay on the island, were beautiful. Each story resulted in similar principles, protect and take care of the land we are lucky enough to live on.

From sea level to 13,679 feet at the summit of Mauna Loa; crashing waves, to steaming lava filled craters, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a very diverse and a must add to your bucket list.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in 12 Hours. 

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Hike to Keanakāko’i Crater.

The short, 0.8 mile, lava paved hike, reveals evidence of the recent eruption, and leads to the gigantic Keanakāko’i Crater.

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The hike was beautiful, telling a story of where life once was and where life was beginning once again.

Chain of Craters Road. 

Lava has repeatedly flowed across the Chain of Craters Road. The road extends 18.8 miles in the park and was given the name, for obvious reasons; several craters can be viewed or hiked to along the road. These include: Lua Manu Crater, Pauahi Crater, Hilina Pali Crater Overlook, Mauna Ulu Crater, and several others which can be found on the park website through the National Park Service.

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Have a Picnic at the End of Chain of Craters Road. 

There are picnic tables, a small information booth and bathroom facilities at the end of the Chain of Craters Road, not to mention the perfect spot next to black cliffs falling off into the deep blue ocean and the serene sound of each ocean wave crashing into the volcanic created cliffs.

Visit the Halema’uma’u Crater After Sunset. 

Visiting the crater during the day is pretty awesome because the smoke of the lava arises out of the crater and is visible. However, the the flames and lava are visible after sunset and is an equally as awesome.

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Visit an Extinct Lava Tube at Night

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Lava tubes in the park were formed as lava moves under the earth’s surface toward toward the ocean.  The Lava Tube trail is well lit at night and so is the the lava tube itself, bringing a whole new dimension to it. It is quite amazing to think that smoldering lava was once moving along the same path that we traveled along. Roots of trees falling from the roof show evidence of the life above us; above the earth’s surface.

I would recommend renting a car, instead of a tour, and possibly spending more than one day in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Whatever way you decide to explore the park, try to learn about the history and legends of the park while you’re there; and don’t forget your camera!

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