My all day adventure, with Hawaii Forest and Trail, began with meeting my tour guide Taj as in Taj Mahal. Taj has an extensive background in geology and science and is extremely knowledgeable about all things Hawaii. Taj taught us about the extensive history, legends, and myths that surround this mystical island. Taj is actually from North Carolina, but has been in Hawaii for 6 years, so it is pretty impressive that he is so ingrained in the culture. We began the journey in a large, comfortable, air conditioned van and after picking up a few more people, headed towards the volcanoes. Hawaii is comprised of 5 volcanoes. On the tour, we learned about three of the volcanoes: Mauna Loa (long mountain), Mauna Kea (white mountain), and Mauna Kilauea (spewing mountain). It was so interesting to learn how the island was formed!
The first stop on the tour was Kaumana Caves. The cave actually goes under a volcano! It is very cool and spooky, but fun. The cave consists of stalactites and hardened lava, and was very surreal. On our way to Hawaii Volcano National Park, we stopped for lunch, which the company graciously provides. When I booked my excursion, they gave me a variety of sandwiches to choose from for lunch. The lunch comes with chips and a cookie all prepared by "Buns in the Sun". I had the tuna sandwich, after a lunch break we continued on our way.
The first stop inside the park is Halema'uma'u Crater, where during the day, we saw steam coming from the crater, but at night, Taj told us we would be fortunate enough to see lava! Unfortunately, we did not get to be anywhere near the lava, nor do we get to actually see lava flow. The next stop took us to Kilaue Iki where we got to see a closer inspection of a crater spewing steam and hardened lava. You can actually hike to it and it is only 2.5 miles, however, we did not get to partake in that on this tour. I was quite disappointed that that was not part of the tour.
Then it is on to Devil's Throat which is a crater so big that you cannot see the bottom; you also cannot get too close because of the sudden cracks in the fissures along the edge. While there, we didn’t get to walk around and check out the lava and explore the wonderful rocks and other creations that is created when a volcano erupts. As the night winds down, we head to the beach located within the park to enjoy dinner and enjoy the magnificent view. For dinner I choose the portabello quinoa instead of the vegetable quinoa and it was delish! As promised, around twilight we headed back to the first crater to view the lava spewing which in and of itself was the best part of the tour.
So, in the end, it was a good expedition, with Hawaii Forest and Trail, if you want minimal trekking, a great history lesson and you are in awe of all things Hawaii. If you want something a little more adventurous and active, like myself, I would suggest looking for a hike that actually takes you into a crater for the up close feeling.