Hawaii: Volcanoes National Park

There are only two more parts of the trip to tell you about, but I've been so busy at work that I haven't had time to do much of anything. So here we go, back to Hawaii one last time (before the final last time).

As you drive along the road leading up to Volcanoes National Park, you can stop just about anywhere at the lower altitudes to watch the ocean pound against the lava rock . It's absolutely amazing. Totally breathtaking in a harsh, dramatic kind of way.

It was a little scary getting those photos, because they tell you not to walk out onto the lava rock because it's a shelf, meaning it's an unstable formation which could collapse at any moment. Naturally, I couldn't pry Husband away :) I tried, complaining from a safe distance about how I didn't want to become a honeymoon widow. But once I came close enough to pull him away I caught a glimpse and was hooked. Luckily we didn't melt into the Pacific.

Those liiiiiiiiittle specs down there are people climbing through one of the giant craters inside the park.

Which is so cool we immediately hit the trails and headed downward to join them.

Down in the craters, steam crept up from small cracks and fissures in the lava rock surface. The steam was HOT. Yet, oddly, there were not 10 million warning signs around, or giant fences. In fact, when climbing out of or into the giant craters I often got the feeling that if you missed a step you could plummet for eternity: no safety railing to warn you that you're on a cliff. No, the Hawaiians seem to think you're bright enough to figure that out on your own. I respect that. It's just a shocking contrast to stateside culture.

An enormous crevice through which lava once flowed.

Like a sulfur rich, crumbly rock gym! Hanging out in the crevice made our throats and eyes burn like crazy.

It was quite a hike into the crater, and thankfully there were switchbacks on the trails leading out.

These weird flowers were everywhere on the hike in and out of the crater. I think Husband took this picture while I was peeing on a patch of delicate wildlife elsewhere - I'll always remember that hike as the first time Husband saw me pee in the woods. It's about time he has - many others have, that's for sure. I know my boss has, as well as two of my coworkers. Several of my friends. Anyone I've ever hiked or camped with. Several sorority sisters in college (that's kind of an involved story, seeing as how we weren't actually in the woods on that particular occasion...).

This is me demonstrating how lava flows through a lava tube. Which is where we are. In a lava tube minus the lava. Except there's me, filling in.

An offering to the goddess of the volcano. You can't see it in this photo, but there was a bottle of Jack beside one of the pineapples.