Exploring Kilauea

In case you missed the memo, I spent Thanksgiving with my ‘ohana in Hilo, where my big brother lives.  It was probably the greatest Thanksgiving weekend of my life – we adventured, we ate, we played!  We enjoyed each other’s company and the beautiful island of Hawai’i!

Hilo didn’t become a rain forest on accident. It rains there.  A lot. IMG_4099IMG_4100IMG_4123IMG_4102

We woke up to downpours like this just about every morning.  It was beautiful.  Ultimately, the weather was perfect every moment of our trip.  We got to do everything we wanted to do in great weather.


Friday was dedicated to the #1 Oregon Ducks vs. Arizona game [in case you missed it, we won.  Again.  No big deal Winking smile]. It was a good thing we didn’t plan to go outdoors because it absolutely poured all day long. We watched football all day (my highlight–aside from the ducks winning–was watching Boise go down.  What can I say?  I’m a Hawai’i fan).

I had planned to run my 8.6 miles that morning but there was absolutely no way I was going out in that weather. To be completely honest, I’ve lost my running mojo.  I could barely keep it together near the end of my training plan.  Maybe it’s stress from school/work/teaching, maybe my mind just isn’t in the game anymore, or maybe my body just doesn’t like that distance… I don’t know, but I didn’t make my goal of running a Turkey Trot.  I’m a bit disappointed, but I know that negativity won’t help anything, and with finals here and so much on my plate, I’ve allowed myself the failure and moved on without beating myself up too much about it.  Maybe for now I’ll stick with a 10K distance and work on my speed because long runs just aren’t fitting into my hectic lifestyle right now.  And in the end it’s all about balance and finding what works, right?


On Saturday morning, Zak rose early to make his infamous Roots Delight.  Since I’ve meeting Zak over five years ago, these potatoes have been my favorite weekend breakfast treat (and probably the greatest hangover food ever)!  Maybe one day he’ll guest post his recipe!


After a hearty breakfast, we got in the van and headed to the Hilo Farmer’s Market!  I love love love this particular market!  People are there every day of the week, but Wednesdays and Saturdays feature the most vendors.  This market is huge, covering two full blocks with hand-made arts and crafts, baked goods, fresh fruit and veg, and flowers!  I love our farmer’s market here on Maui, but this one puts Maui’s to shame.  Hawai‘i island has an abundance, so there’s much more to choose from and everything is cheaper!



[That is one piece of ginger! Apparently everything is bigger on the Big Island!]


[lots of gorgeous anthuriums and orchids]


We got a few snacks for the road and then headed to Kilauea volcano – where Earth is being created at this very moment!

We paid $25 for a yearly tri-park pass (including Haleakala on Maui), which allows one car per signature and gives you two signatures!  We’ve already had two of these passes, and because we live on the slopes of Haleakala, the pass pretty much pays for itself within the first two months of purchase.


We started at the visitor center and filled up on rain water [so awesome!].


We didn’t have the time to do every hike we wanted to do, but we did get to see quite a bit.  Most roads and trails were closed due to sulfur/lava flow, so this is as close as we could get… during the day we could see smoke but when the sun set we could see the red glow of lava.  It was amazing to be so close to creation and raw earth. It literally looked like Mars out there.





[the many types of lava rock created by Pele, our fire goddess]

When I lived in Aotearoa/New Zealand we visited Rotorua, which smelled of rotten eggs (sulfur) everywhere.  When we pulled over to see the sulfur vents on Hawai‘i island, memories came flooding back.  Luckily, the smell was nowhere near as pungent as Aotearoa.


After the vents, we made our way to the lava tube.  I’ve seen my fair share of lava tubes (including black-water rafting through a lava tube with glow worms in Aotearoa) and wasn’t too excited, but this was by far one of the largest lava tubes I’ve ever been through!



[like I said, perfect weather]

We eventually made our way down Chain of Craters Road to the petroglyphs and to the newer flow of lava.  I just have to say, Mother Nature/Pele is amazing.  We hiked over fields that looked like this:



to get to these beauties:


Then we hiked for a while on paved road until we got to this:


[About ten years ago, this road was taken over by fresh lava.  The road has since been unusable.]



We were filled with immense gratitude and wonder as we watched the sun go down over the ocean.  We made our way back up the Chain of Craters Road after sunset to watch the crimson lava from afar, but alas, Pele didn’t want to be photographed that night and we don’t have any photos of that.  I will instead leave you with my favorite photos of the day (and quite possibly the entire trip):


[I love our point-and-shoot!]

What fills you with gratitude? Have you ever been this close to an active volcano?


8 thoughts on “Exploring Kilauea

  1. anniespickns says:

    I’m thankful to you for posting your time in Hilo and at Volcanoes NP. Brings back so many memories. Especially the Hilo Farmers’ Market. One of the biggest and best tasting avacados I have ever eaten came from there. Glad you had a wonderful time with your ‘ohana. It sounds like it was the perfect Hawaiian Thanksgiving.

  2. Therese says:

    You are a lucky woman! I would LOVE to go on such a hike! And I visited around the same area when I travelled to New Zealand! I stayed in the Taupo area for a few days and, yeah, rotten eggs in the springs is right! Ha ha ha But I LOVED it!

    • greenplatedinners says:

      You did?? Growing up we always hated getting stuck behind the bikers, hehe. It takes guts to ride down the mountain, though… I’d be afraid of losing control (which sounds ridiculous to say that since I’ve sky-dived and can jump from waterfalls, hehe).

  3. Auntie CSG says:

    Looks like a blast — sorry I missed it.

    Remind me to tell you the story of the time I hiked TO the lava flow — and sometimes OVER it with some Rangers from HAVO when I was there for training one time. Oh yea — it was at night and was CRAZY!!!!!! More than once I thought: “what the HELL are we doing out here????” (…but it was the rangers idea….they probably don’t appreciate me posting this — but….we were doing research…yea, that was what it was….) Did I mention it was CRAZY!!!!

    What’s your next adventure?

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