Hawai'i Volcanoes: Red Clouds in the Night

We arrived on the Big Island of Hawai’i after a few complicated days of travel. I had driven from Denver to Las Vegas to pick up Trevor and then we drove to Oakland to leave our car with the parents of one of our friends. Our first attempt to fly out of Oakland was thwarted, as we were riding standby. Our second attempt was out of San Jose and involved waking up at the crack of dawn. When we got on the plane we didn’t really care about the previous travels as we were headed to the land of beautiful weather!

We landed in Hawai’i and contemplated our transportation options. We discussed hitchhiking, or the possibility of only renting a car for a couple of days. The island is just to big, so we opted for the week rental. We gave a girl, Jen, that we met at the airport a ride to her hostel and she treated us to a Cosco run so that we could stock up on food for the week.

Breakfast – oatmeal, almond milk, greek yogurt and mango nectar
Lunch – Bagels, Portuguese sausage, 2lbs of cheese
Dinner – sardines, hummus, pita bread
Random – Clementines, seaweed salad, 2 lbs of kimchee, one bag of avocados, one 28-pack of V8

After fully stocking ourselves with foods that didn’t need to be cooked (we purposefully left our stove in California) we dropped Jen off at her hostel and then continued along our way to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. It poured rain most of the way. The campsite we were planning on staying at was closed and darkness was beginning to descend. It was just after 6pm and we had accomplished nothing other than get rained on, find a closed campsite and buy some food at Cosco. We found another campsite in the park and made our way down the road to find it.

As we drove I saw some red clouds off to the right. Odd, the sun had already set and it was completely dark outside, why were there red clou….Volcanoes National Park…Lava…could it be?! We turned the car around and headed to where we thought the color was coming from. We found a turn off and hiked 200 meters in the darkness to an overlook. It was certainly being caused by lava in a crater, the Kileaua crater to be exact. We drove further up the road to the Jagger Museum and found the hordes of people standing by with tens of thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment and staring at the crater.

The color reflected in the clouds was mesmerizing, but we didn’t stay long as dinner and a bed were calling our name. We drove down Chain of Craters road, turned onto Halina Pali road and made ourselves a tentless campsite for the night. The red and orange clouds of Kileaua could be seen in the distance we went to sleep eager to see what everything would look like during the daylight.