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endless flow

Lava continues to flow from Mauna Loa just outside the boundaries of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, a few miles east of Pu'u 'O'o.

 

From 5:00pm until 8:00pm, visitors can drive over a lava covered highway, to a section of roadway that is still clear to park. Everyone must back into your parking spot, incase a quick getaway is in order - no joke. You then make the 15 minute hike over an old flow, to a roped off viewing area to see lava pour into the ocean at night.

 

The viewing area is roped off for your own safety. In November of 2005, 35 acres of shoreline (the 'lava bench') collapsed into the ocean. About 10 years before that, a similar collapse occurred. It is wise to stay within the roped off area.

 

It's quite a spectacular experience, but be aware that your hike back will be in complete darkness, over very sharp, hardened black lava. The park rangers organising the viewing say people get hurt every single night, without fail. Be prepared with your flashlight, decent hiking shoes, water and some common sense. It's a spectacular sight.

 

If you are exceptionally brave, you can take a 'lava boat' ride, which brings you within a few hundred feet of the hot lava flowing into the ocean. Note the 'lava boat' in the bottom left of this picture.

 

We opted for the hike.

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Taken on October 22, 2009