(A repeat of my usual warning)
I’ll start with my warning not to do what I do. I have most likely done this hike more than anyone and I know what I’m doing and where I’m going. It’s extremely easy for the inexperienced to get lost on this hike. Most who attempt it do get lost. There are very real dangers and one needs to recognize them. I can. The hike is usually shrouded in heavy fog with no visible markers. Please stay away for your own safety. Most of all, it’s just plain and simply difficult!! (Once again more people got lost and needed rescue trying to do this hike) I can’t stress enough to stay away from this area as its extremely dangerous for the inexperienced.
Once again I took on this difficult hike. Wanted to see how much the vent floor and perched lava lake had risen in the past month. It was a dramatic change as the source of pressure below the floor has lifted it nearly 100′. Lava from a source outside of the lake fed a small flow that filled both the Puka Nui and MLK vents and was filling the West Gap Pit vent while I was there. These flows were small and slowly meandered to a very desolate area to the southwest. It may have died out by now. This process could repeat its self over and over. It was interesting to watch the occasional spatter drift from east to west deep in the center of the lava lake until it was forced under the west rim. The first 5 images in the gallery show an example of this process. At times I could both hear and feel the floor of Pu’u O’o being uplifted. The vents rim would shutter and shake from the strain and the sound of grinding rocks could easily be heard. There are new cameras in place offering great web cam views. To help address my heavy backpack issues I bought myself a nice new Gregory Baltoro 65 pack. It was great for long multi-day adventures like this. The pivoting waist belt and shoulder harnesses allowed for a great fit. I wore it for 3 straight hours (8 total) with about 60 lbs of gear and I was comfortable. My favorite feature other than comfort is the front panel loading option. Overall it was a great adventure that kicked my butt like always. I move at a fast pace while hiking with few stops if any at all. Stopping for beaks could make this hike 10 times worse.
Images can be viewed on my website. Gallery 7-27-11 Puu Oo
Congratulations and a big Mahalo to Pam & Rick from Oregon for being the first to purchase one of my Pu’u O’o perched lava lake panoramic images on metal, flush mounted on a black brushed aluminum frame. #357c
Crude video will follow in a few days. My battery kept dying so its limited footage. Remember to use the “keywords” when wanting to view similar images to what you are viewing at any time.
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