The news that Mauna Loa was erupting when we already had plans to be on Hawaii kicked my planning instinct into high gear. Kīlauea has been erupting since September 2021 (it stopped in 2018, and started up again), so we hoped to see Kīlauea and a distant glow from Mauna Loa if we drove from Kona over to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and stayed overnight.
I booked an AirBnB in Volcano (the town) for Saturday night so we could drive over on Saturday, bask in the glow Saturday night, and come home on Sunday.
We scoped out the overlook on the Crater Rim Trail so we’d know where we were going to go after dark, planning a viewpoint that would include both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. Halema’uma’u (the crater inside Kīlauea) was smoking that afternoon
and looked beautiful at sunset from Volcano House. (Although suspiciously less steamy?)
I spoke with a park ranger, and she pointed out Mauna Loa’s steam in the distance, but said that things had quieted down quite a bit. (Steam from Kīlauea’s Wahinekapu steam vents in left foreground.)
We went down Crater Rim Trail to the overlook after dinner, and this is what we saw. Yep, nothing. No lava glow from either Kīlauea or Mauna Loa. Too dark to see steam (the moon wasn’t up yet). I guess Madame Pele (Pelehonuamea, the volcano goddess) has her own timetable, which didn’t coincide with ours! But I have to say that the sky was stunning, with more stars than I’ve ever seen at once.
We rose before dawn to see the sunrise (in the rain) over Halema’uma’u from the Kīlauea Overlook. (We picked a different overlook, because there was no need to try to get Mauna Loa in the same view.)
No lava glow, but it was beautiful anyway. It looks like both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa are now taking a break. I think Pele is laughing at us! (If you’d like to see more glow from a previous visit in 2015, see this post.)
Of course I took a picture of my knitting with the volcano. I didn’t actually knit…it was rainy, windy, and cold. This is the little sample I’d be using the next day to review increases and decreases for the Brioche Buddies cast on party.
The nice thing about getting up before dawn is that there was nobody on the Chain of Craters Road, and we were the only people looking at the Hōlei Sea Arch before 8 a.m.
The arch in 2013 and 2022. It’s 90 feet tall, and was formed 550 years ago. You can see by the angle that they’ve moved the viewing overlook; heavy surf in July made the cliff less stable. The heavy surf also took some chunks out of the arch leg; at some point it will fall into the sea.
It was a beautiful, quiet, windy morning.
I’m glad we took this road trip, even if we didn’t get to see hot lava!
Sometimes you just have to chill out and go with the flow…