Hawaii – Day 8 & 9: Sulfur Smells Smelly (and other musings)

 

So that’s the best I got on the “s” alliteration titles which I’ve made it this far, so I’m not stopping at this point! Anyway, another short post from our last 2 days on the Big Island!

 

Day 8: Volcanoes National Park

Our day in the park started with a quick trip to the Kilauea Visitor Center (which was smaller than expected, but very nice and had a lot of info on the park) followed by a short (and smelly) hike to see the steam vents. The vents are cracks in the earth where sulfur-filled volcanic gases leak out from underground. Sulfur has that great rotten-egg smell, so if the wind gusted at you on the trail, it was best to hold your breath! Our next stop was the Thurston Lava Tubes; lava tubes are formed when hot lava flows under a roof of cooled lava, then drains out, leaving only an underground tunnel behind. This attraction was better than any of us expected! On the hike to and from the tube, you are enclosed by a rainforest, and the tube itself was maybe 200 yards long – much longer than we anticipated. Next was the Devastation Trail, called so because the trail takes you along a forest that was destroyed during an eruption in 1959. As the name implies, there isn’t much on the trail, mostly just small plants that are beginning to sprout through the lava rock. Before leaving the park, we stopped by and hiked on a field of lava rock, where I managed to scrape my leg pretty good despite parental warnings that the rock was sharp. Indeed, it was. Our last stop of the day was to see some holes in the ground. The holes were formed when lava burnt through trees roots, leaving a pit as the only remnant. I don’t have any notable pictures from this because, frankly, it wasn’t that exciting.

 

Day 9: Rainforest and Lava Glow

The afternoon of our last day on the Big Island was spent hanging out at our accommodations and exploring the surrounding rainforest. My brother and I felt like real explorers as we made our way deeper into the forest, only to find out we had made it about 100 yards of actual distance! It’s true what they say – rainforests are dense (a similar lesson to the sharpness of lava rock). That night, we drove to the Jaggar Museum (which is either pronounced like jagger, jäger, or  some combination of those – I can’t remember now) to see the lava glow! In the daytime, the view of the Kilauea crater from the museum is impressive, but at night, it becomes spectacular. The glowing lava lights up the smoke and fills the sky with orange smoke-clouds, which made for some awesome pictures!

 

And so our days on the Big Island came to a close. I’ve never been anywhere like the island before – the diversity of landscapes, from barren and black to lush and green, is truly incredible!

 

Next up is Kauai! I don’t want to spoil anything, but in my opinion, this is where I got my best shots! Let me know what you think so far!

The steam vents actually provided some really cool abstract-ish shots!

The steam vents actually provided some really cool abstract-ish shots!

Sulfur-covered rocks on the steam vent hike.

Sulfur-covered rocks on the steam vent hike.

Family hiking through the lava tubes.

Family hiking through the lava tubes.

The Devastation Trail - this was about as green as it got!

The Devastation Trail – this was about as green as it got!

Making our way back through the rainforest.

Making our way back through the rainforest.

I'm actually really happy with the way this turned out in B&W! One of my favorite photographers, Bruce Barnbaum, takes absolutely incredible black and white photos of forests. This is the closest I've ever come to his style, in my opinion.

I’m actually really happy with the way this turned out in B&W! One of my favorite photographers, Bruce Barnbaum, takes absolutely incredible black and white photos of forests. This is the closest I’ve ever come to his style, in my opinion.

The glow from the lava reflected onto the smoke really gave the look of a flame.

The glow from the lava reflected onto the smoke really gave the look of a flame.

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2 responses to “Hawaii – Day 8 & 9: Sulfur Smells Smelly (and other musings)

  1. Another brilliant post – reading about your adventures makes me want to travel. The first picture especially is fab. Looks as though it was taken on 35mm, which is what I use when I’m actually concentrating on photography rather than photographing food.

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