We went by bus to the Jaggar Museum. This museum presents information on how various measuring devices are used to predict eruptions. There is also an overlook of the Kilauea Caldera. This is the best view so far we have had of the activity of Kilauea. We could see the steam from the heat of the volcano. The museum had a small store and I bought Dad a 500 piece puzzle of the volcano activity at night. He will complain there are too many black pieces.
We then went to walk through the Nahuku (Thurston) Lava Tube. A lava tube is made by flowing lava. The lava on the outside of the flow cools before the lava in the middle. The outside lava hardens and the new lava flows over it and hardens until a wall is built up on the sides. Eventually the top crusts over, too and new, hot lava continues to flow through the tube. There are many such tubes in areas around "red" volcanoes. The island of Hawaii has the longest volcano tube in the world - running from a side of Kilauea about 35 miles to the Pacific Ocean. The tube we walked through was found in 1913 by a man named Thurston. It would have been several hundred years old when he found it. Portions of it has collapsed and the Park Service has constructed an exit stairway that is now used to get out of the tube. This was a highlight for me. It reminded me of spelunking but I am used to much smaller spaces in my caving days. One of the interesting things in the tube was seeing the roots of plants above beginning to grow again after having been removed during the volcano flow.
Then we walked along the "Devastation Trail" This trail is to show how vegetation is slowly coming back from the 1959 fountaining event from Kilauea Iki. This area was completely covered with lava and is seeing regrowth, with some help from man.
We then went back to KMC for a lunch of maybe de-boned baked chicken tenders, maybe fish (we found out later it was a meaty local fish that had been horribly over cooked) and left over canned vegetable medley from the previous night.
Then we loaded back in the bus after a two hour break and at 3:00pm left for our evening excursion.