My first Photo Friday and Aloha Friday combined is almost in my back yard area of East Hawaii. Down the road, about an hours drive from my home in Orchidland to the end of the two lane highway is Kalapana, a small community wiped out by lava coming down from the hillsides of the still active volcano at Kilauea.

I woke up early ( I mean 4am) with some close friends to hike and witness live lava spilling out from lava tubes high up at Kilauea Volcano down into the ocean, and creating an amazing new black sand beach. The moment hot lava spills the cold Pacific, it spatters into fine particles of sand and rock, creating rich black sand particle, that gets swept into various coves, forming new beaches that appear and disappear with each new tide.

The stars were still bright along with a crescent moon that helped us climb and manuever areas of black lava rock – no marked trails but a bright red plume along the coastline marked our destination point. The hike was over two hours long in one direction with only our flashlights and illumination of the stars and moon to help traverse through mounds of smooth pahoehoe (rolling)rock and then very aa (sharp) rocks and formations.  Having done this a few times, I was able to guide our small group of adventurers over unpredictable lava formations and uneven elevations, slow and easy across more accessible and flatter terrain.

After a long hike in darkness, we were able to make it to the rugged shoreline and morning was about to approach. The dark skies turning dusky blue, making the rest of the hike easier and avoid the tricky areas along the coastline.


Even though the morning was pretty cloudy, we were able to get a little sunrise with views over the cliff sides of the Puna coastline. I have to make another trip again to get a better sunrise experience. But turning back towards the lava entry into the ocean, we were awarded with amazing views of live lava.


Pure lava, pouring out from the lava tubes directly into the ocean provided spectacular views. (So glad I carried a longer lens to capture these details from a distance)




After seeing the amazing scenes unfold, we decided to hike back, the trip back was easier with daylight and the rougher areas were easily avoided.  Finding some interesting landmarks like the sign below gave a better perspective on how this area was still open and paved less than a year ago in 2012, and now it was inundated with new lava formations.


I can never seem to come back here for inspiration and seeing things constantly change. It’s so amazing to see nature create and destroy at the same time beyond human timeframes.

To see more images of this hike, come and visit my flickr site at

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