Thursday, October 20, 2016
Signs from the Past (The Volcano Part 4)
Before I visited Kīlauea I had thought about volcanoes in terms of lava, sulfur dioxide gas, eruptions, hot magma, bare land - devastation. I don't know why I didn't expect anybody living there after an eruption. If people lived there, where would they go?
When I learned in the visitor center about the Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs I knew that I wanted to see them. Petroglyphs have always fascinated me and I enjoyed the ones I saw in the American Southwest. The Pu'u Loa Petroglyph Trail is not a very long one but it runs over an old pāhoehoe lava flow and is marked with cairns. It is not a very long walk, just about 15 to 20 minutes to the petroglyphs.
Thousands of images were carved into the hardened lava representing everything from birth to death. And when I say birth I do mean birth.
Do you see the many small holes in this area of lava? They were created by parents who placed the umbilical cords from their newborns here for good luck. They were all over the place.
I felt like taking a peek into the life of the ancient Hawai'ians who lived here. A few signs along the boardwalk that was leading through a part of the petroglyph field (so that no one would walk on them) described the life of the people who lived here. It was hard under harsh conditions. However, they didn't leave - and where should they have gone anyway? They probably only knew the area of the volcano.
You could never forget about the volcano here. Lava was everywhere, dark smooth pāhoehoe, it's omnipresent. There were bizarre shapes and forms.
The petroglyphs are only a short distance away from the end of the Chain of Craters Road. The present end. The lava end. The area where the lava of the current eruption from the Pu'u Ō'ō vent has overflown entire neighborhoods and wiped out a small town, including this road. Where the lava still flows and enters the ocean with a lot of sizzle and steam. Without any doubt it is the most fascinating part of the volcano.
Which will be written about in a future post...