I swear I woke up smiling the fourth day. We made it to the Volcano Village farmer’s market before everyone dispersed. I sometimes forget that these are real, living, breathing communities. This farmer’s market isn’t a tourist attraction, it’s just a local rendezvous. Kids playing on the jungle gym, adults sipping local coffee, chatting about the weather. This amazing lava-surrounded community felt so right.

P I NAfter a quiet breakfast at the Hale Ohia, we returned to Hawaii Volcanos National Park. We stopped first at the visitor’s center to listen to a Park Ranger speak of the current and past volcanic activity. Unfortunately there were no active, visible flows in the park. We found a hike that took us around a crater ridge then down into a caldera.P I NP I NP I NP I NP I NThe caldera was looming and vast. Steam and vibrant red plants crept through the cracks in the crater floor.P I NP I NP I NP I NP I NWe ended the hike in the THURSTON LAVA TUBEP I NWe took the 20 minute drive down Chain of Craters Road. Ooing and Ahing over the various lava runs and their nondiscriminatory paths. On the southern coastline you could see a SEA ARCH, Mr. Mussack may have been breaking a few rules by walking that far out, but no one stopped him.P I NP I N We walked to the END OF THE ROAD. Literally. Three years ago this was a slow moving river of lava and it intersected and shut down five miles.P I N

It ‘s kind of creepy how excited we seem about the lava’s destruction.P I NP I NP I NIt was remarkable the difference between the faded lava rocks from the hikes we have taken and these more recent remains.P I NP I NP I NWe stopped at CAFE OHIA for some quick deli sandwiches on our way to the east side of the island. Notice the sunscreen, it was on us at all times.P I NWe checked into our hotel/hostel (more on THAT later) and headed to Harper’s Hawaii. This is where I would like to bring up the pros/cons of a 4WD rental vehicle. It is (in our opinion, along with most rental companies, AND the observatory) important to have a 4WD vehicle to visit the very top of Mauna Kea, the highest point of Hawaii. I think we could have made it to the observatory with our regular rental car but we took the advice of other travelers and stopped at Harpers to rent a truck for 24hours. In the long run the car(5 DAYS)+the truck(1 DAY) equaled roughly as much as getting a jeep from the beginning so it’s your call! There is one more adventure that required the use of a 4WD if you choose the mobile route, but even Harper’s won’t let you take their vehicles there (guess what? more on that later)P I N

We had been warned that it would be cold at the top of Mauna Kea. And it WAS. Like see your breath but can’t feel your toes cold. Oh, I guess it didn’t help that I was wearing slippahs. (flip-flops) But I did bring a pretty sweet blanket. We enjoyed some hot cocoa at the observatory (in order to prevent the likeliness of altitude sickness wait 30-40 minutes here) and were on our steep, bumpy way.

The view from the top of Hawaii.P I NP I NP I NP I NP I N


We watched the sunset and bundled up in the truck. It would be a few hours until all of the stars would be out.P I NP I NP I N

There are three things I learned from Mauan Kea: 1)I am by no means a night/star photographer. 2)Bring a tripod. 3)You can get very drowsy from the altitude change. Turns out I fell asleep after the sun went down while waiting for the ambient light to fall. I ended up sleeping for over an hour. Mr. Mussack had been watching the night sky darken and the stars brighten, but I was so tired I didn’t want to get out of the warm truck. I finally did and made some weak attempts at long exposures, but between the cold, my sleepiness and honestly lack of preparedness for night shooting this is all I captured. Oh, well, maybe next time.

Mr. Mussack drove us the 30 minutes back to our hotel. We were both so incredibly tired, our trip was catching up to us.

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  • June 6, 2014 - 10:14 pm

    Mr. Blaydes - Great compilation, really like the clarity in the shots. Some of them would make great HDR shots. Keep up the great work!ReplyCancel