World Travels by Casey

Big island, Hawaii. Lava Adventures!

One of my friends (Jesse) here, in Kona recently quit his day job at Kona Brewing to focus on island tours. Something he had been doing as a side gig for the last few years. 

I'm a supporter of doing what you love for work so I've been trying to help him get some bookings. Becuause I'm such a good friend for doing this he invited me to join on an adventure I had sold to a couple sitting next to me at Kona Brew on Jesse's last day of work. Paul and Ann ere visiting Hawaii for the first time. We hit it off and in conversation they learned about Jesse and his your business. They were very intrested in seeing the active lava flow of the volcano, Kilauea. 

When adventure day arrived, Jesse and I drove to Hilo to meet up with Paul and Ann and a few others later in the evening.

We stopped at this kind of touristy looking spot as we were just entering Hilo from Saddle Rd.

 Kaumana caves was the name of it. 

After parking we walked a few feet down a trail to a stair case. At the bottom of that there was an entrance to a lava tube cave on either side of us. One went fairly deep and the other one didn't, or so it seemed. We knew to look a little further and we found an opening in the cave to the right (as you come down the stairs) that forced us to duck down a bit to enter. 

This is after just entering the cave on one side. 

So worth the duck down and having to continue staying low for a few feet and then it opened up to this! An amazingly smooth cave that looked man made, it was so perfect! Wow! Nature is amazing! 

If you look past Jesse you might be able to see the stair case in the background. This is us leaving the other cave. 

We also stopped at "boiling pots" that's what this picture is. I'm not sure I'd ever been there before. It's not actually hot boiling water. It's just the name the Hawaiians gave it with a story about why It's named that and of course I don't remember the story. Sorry! Maybe you can look it up if you really want to know. 

Rainbow falls was the next stop in Hilo. Another stop I am not sure if I had made before. We hung out here for awhile taking in a few different views and talking story. 

We had planned to do an over night hike so dinner was a good idea before we set out. We grabbed ramen at Kanpai noodles & sake. They also served sushi but this ramen dish was highly recommended so I had to try it and I wasn't disappointed. I had the Dirty Ramen no tofu extra mushrooms for $10

We stopped by the KTA grocery store for a few hiking snacks and I saw this sign. "Luau supplies" only in Hawaii would you see this! I had to capture the moment. 

We arrived at our friends Airbnb home. The treehouse is what it was called and I see why but it's not a tree house. We hung out with them for about an hour and then we all took a couple hours to nap. 

At 1am we met a friend who would drive us to the trail head. Our trek would begin from there. It went pretty smooth considering the darkness and the hour of day. Many of us had only recently met so there were many stories to share as we hiked thru the rainforest. Those who were ahead of others would yell out when there was a low branch hanging or a crack in the earth from lava. Even though we weren't out on the lava field yet there was still signs of old lava flow through the trees.

This sign was posted, I think a mile or two in.

Not sure where the heli pad was but at least they had thought of the idea! 

We arrived on the edge of the tree line and lava field at maybe 3am? I'm not sure. I tried to not watch the time in hopes of not getting to tired. 

It was our first jaw dropping sight! We could tell there was still a distance to go but the mass amount of blackness in front of us and red glow was amazing! There were about 3 areas in the distance glowing red and smoking. There was Pele! Goddess of fire, volcano goddess. 

We were instructed on the old lava flow before we continued. Our "leader" told us what kind of lava rock to walk on and which to stay away from. The one to stay away from had the potential of collapsing under us and viciously dropping us into a lava tube below. 

That was reassuring! 

It was chilly out in the feild but the closer we got to the lava flow the more we were hit with gusts of warm wind. 

And then we arrived! Wow! I seriously can't tell you in words the excitement and nervousness that swept over me all at once. 

A selfie with flowing lava, because... Why not!? When the opportunity is there you need to take it.

Jesse and I. 

Yeah this might just me showing how delirious I was getting at times. When you hike all night long you just can't avoid it. But how cool was all this!? 

We each found very long limbs and took our turns reaching them into the lava and trying to lift the lava up. It was imcredaibly heavy! We were also very surprised about how slow the lava was moving yet how fast it seemed to surround us! We defiantly had to stay alert to the situation. 

We stayed at the lava for around 2 hours, taking it all in. As well as waiting for the sun to come out so we had some extra light to guide us back. 

Yeah I'm a goof ball and thought this would be a fun modern day Rosie the riveter type photo. And a great brand opportunity for a local (Oregon) company I love so much. Handful, a sports bra and sporting attire company. Started with the idea of making a better bra for women with or survivors of breast cancer.

I could only get close like this quickly for a photo opportunity and then I had to get the heck away! Running fast as my skin felt like it was on fire! 

We took in the sights one last time before we all agreed it was time to go. The helicopters might have been coming soon and we didnt want to risk getting in trouble. 

The sun rised over the lava field and the brightness eliminated that beautiful yet dangerous glow of Pele.

We headed back to the tree line and right as we hit it the sound of a helicopter greeted us! A sence of adrenaline pumped into us as we ducked quickly into the trees! 

The rest of the hike back through the rain forest was a quite one. Very different from all the conversation that had happened earlier. We were all so tired and drained from the excitement of the early morning activities we had encountered. Eventually it was taking effort just to move one foot in front of the other.

It felt bitter sweet when we reached the trail head and loaded up in the truck that had dropped us off course before. We had all just gone thru a life changing event and we may not see each other again. It was that feeling of spending a week with a class and then it ends and you have to say goodbye but you feel like family. 

I've seen my friend Jesse since and the couple I met from Flordia. We stay in touch but the other two I'll likely never see again but I'll always remember that long and early morning together. 

And thank you Pele for not swallowing us whole!  

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