8-31-13 Lava Tube Hike


This is an old lava tube I have explored since 1992. There are many sections to it.

Some hide in plain sight while others are well hidden.

This small tube has some amazing features that I’m sure few have ever seen. I was almost not even going to show my images to help keep this place protected but, since I’m not revealing its exterior location I’m posting them.

The most interesting room in the tube requires some lengthy crawling through a narrow shallow connector tube. Its floor is rough A’a lava. The room has both stalagmites and stalactites. Both were formed from fluid lava dripping through the porous roof. There are also thousands of small droplets that froze in place all over the roof and even down the sides. It’s also quite colorful with differing colors of lava flows and sulfur adding a mustard yellow color.

All of the features are extremely fragile so great care had to be taken while moving about. The room was maybe 4-5 feet high at best too. After 2.5 hours I really needed to stand fully upright.

There are a few images that are the same place under different lighting to highlight particular objects.

Like most of the lava tubes I explore this one has a nasty A’a lava flow covering the floor. Even a slabby pahoehoe flow too. Throw in a few areas of collapsed interior roof and its a bit of a challenge to navigate. One nice open skylight along the way and many dead goats give it a pungent smell. The tube was very humid like always.

There’s also a nice little upper chamber on one side. Most likely somewhere deep below the floor is a larger main tube. Many times these tube systems have multiple chambers reaching various depths.

Images can be seen here. Can you find the stalagmite that looks like my left hand? For those of who haven’t met me in person, think “The Simpsons”. Comment if you think you did.

Back in the late 90’s there was one great tube left over from the original Laeapuki lava flow. It sat high on the pali within Hawaii Volcanoes Nat Park around the 2000’ elevation. This tube had many levels of chambers. Unfortunately it was buried by later flows in the area. Somewhere I have old slides of it. Someday I will find them and post the images on my website.

Its been a very busy year for me so, there might be more to come in the way of new images and blog posts. I’ve taken it easy the past month letting my feet recover. Also prepping for many upcoming adventures. Threw in several uphill bike rides to stay in shape.

Feel free to comment and share a link to this post with people via your favorite social network.

Goat Skull

Hawaii Lava Tube

Aloha, Bryan Lowry lavapix.com All content is copyright protected ©Bryan Lowry/lavapix.com. Use without my permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.


4 thoughts on “8-31-13 Lava Tube Hike

  1. Hi,

    I’ve gone into a lava tube in Flagstaff, Arizona, and it was great. The only down side is that since the lava is protected from weathering, and thus pretty sharp, I put six months on wear on my soles in one short hike.

    Have Fun ,

  2. Hey Jeff,

    They all are mostly sharp lava over here. Still young flows. Usually my clothing gets shredded. I was telling someone I come out looking like a bear attacked me.
    Or a ware wolf 🙂 This one is a short hike so, I’m not in long enough to do much damage to my clothing. Others I’m underground for 6-8 hours.

  3. Thanks for sharing what has likely never been photographed before. I spotted your hand – its a bit like the old “Finding Waldo” puzzles from long ago! And yes, it would require someone who knows you personally to do so. Interestingly, above the hand on the tube wall is what looks like a Hawaiian petroglyph of a man without his head or are these just natural striations??? I wonder how the tube would look shot with different colored gels – I have some if interested although I’m not sure I’d want to crawl over A’a lava -ouch (Aow Aow!) Just back from Indo – was pumping; pics & video to follow when I get time to process them…

  4. Hey Mark,
    Most people were looking at the photos as a whole for my hand rather than an object in the photo. I should have referenced Finding Waldo. Most likely others have photographed that chamber but, how good and to what degree, who knows. Anything you see in there was formed by the lava. Its a young tube. Seeing how pristine the chamber is, I’d say few people have ever been in it. Everything is very fragile and amazingly 99% intact. Yeah, the crawling doesn’t go well with tall people and few enjoy the A’a. Its like crawling on a cheese grader.
    Lucky dog getting the waves down there. 5 weeks flat here until the last couple days.
    Email me know when the pics are posted.

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