Most of us had never seen lava before, let alone stood in front of one of the largest active volcanoes in the world, the volcano that lies at the center of Hawaii’s story of creation. The surrounding wildlife, in itself, is rich with history and biological wonders!

A difficult part of maintaining this area is combating invasive species, such as strawberry guava, and even ginger. The park service must also strive to keep resources sustainable and managed around tourism. 

After exploring these trails with the help of our USGS guide, Steve (and his trusty can of green tea), we loaded up into our party wagons and ventured upward to Jagger museum, where we learned more about the cultural history of this evidently sacred space.

Pele is the goddess of fire, and the creator of the Hawaiian Islands in Polynesian culture. She is the inspiration for many art pieces, and contributes “Pele’s Tears,” referring to the green stone, Peridot, and “Pele’s Hair,” a strange and fascinating result of the volcanic conditions. 

The museum is at the center of a large viewing area overlooking the volcano, and through telescopes and binoculars one can get a close look at the spurts and wavelike motions of the lava. It’s even better at night! 

Just think, this was only the start of a long day of volcanic adventures! Aloha!

Written by Karen Ramirez and Lauren Wilson

Written by Lauren

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