Crater fest: Scenes from Volcano

By Elizabeth Kieszkowski / ekieszkowski@staradvertiser.com on April 8, 2015


Aloha from Hilo Merrie Monarch blog

The goddess Pele is a fiery presence in Volcano. Revered Hawaiian artist Herb Kane painted this portrait of Pele, on display at the Jaggar Museum.

The goddess Pele is a fiery presence in Volcano. Revered Hawaiian artist Herb Kane painted this portrait of Pele, on display at the Jaggar Museum.

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Aloha from Volcano, where Hawaii island is still growing, as lava continues to flow from Kīlauea.

I spent the day exploring this volcanic landscape, feeling the awe of observing earth’s transformation by fire.

The view of Kīlauea's caldera and Halema'uma'u crater from the Jaggar Museum.

The view of Kīlauea’s caldera and Halema’uma’u crater from the Jaggar Museum.

Another view of this austere volcanic landscape.

Another view of this austere volcanic landscape.

One of the best place to see Kīlauea and observe the volcano is the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum inside Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, on Crater Rim Drive. The museum was built on the very edge of Kīlauea Caldera, offering views of the caldera and main crater Halema’uma’u that will surely make you ponder earth’s natural history.t.

The National Park Service says Jaggar Museum’s overlook is the best place to view the Kīlauea’s current eruption, which began in 2008. If the area is not vogged in, a sulfurous “fume cloud” will usually be seen rising from Halema’uma’u crater.

My loot from the Jaggar Museum: Mino‘aka, the Hawaiian "happy face spider";  postcards; a  Volcanoes National Park pin; magnets.

My loot from the Jaggar Museum: A plush Mino‘aka, the Hawaiian “happy face spider,” endemic to Hawaii at elevations above 1,000 feet; postcards; a Volcanoes National Park pin; magnets.

The Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association operates a park store in the Jaggar Museum, and of course I wasn’t immune to its charms. I picked up an assortment of postcards, a pin and other collectibles. The benefit of buying from a Parks Association store is that the proceeds benefit programs in Hawaii.

After exploring the museum, I moved over to Hawaii Volcano House, a restored hotel on the very edge of the Kilauea caldera, owned and operated by the National Park Service. A lodge has been operated on the site since 1846.

My goal: Another view of the volcano.

Volcano Lodge looks out over Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the summit of Kilauea.

Volcano Lodge looks out over Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the summit of Kilauea.

Even through glass, Halema‘uma‘u Crater and Kilauea never fail to impress.

A bronze image of volcano goddess Pele, sculpted by Honolulu artist Marguerite Blassingame, presides above the fireplace at Volcano House.

A bronze image of volcano goddess Pele, sculpted by Honolulu artist Marguerite Blassingame, presides above the fireplace at Volcano House.

After closing in 2010 for renovations, the lodge, owned by the National Park Service, reopened in 2013. The original lava rock fireplace in the lobby remains an attraction in rainy Volcano, and as is fitting, Pele has a place of honor.

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Elizabeth Kieszkowski is editor of TGIF, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s weekly arts and entertainment section. Reach her via email at ekieszkowski@staradvertiser.com or follow her on Twitter.