The volcanic rocks are light and porous, which is strange. Plus, there was hot steam coming out of vents in the floor of the crater. It was really amazing to be able to walk through it. The sign at the trail-head said that in 1959 there was a huge eruption here and the entire thing was a massive "lake of lava" 400ft deep!
Kanani is moving back to Oregon in May so I was really happy to be able to spend some time and do something fun with her - she's an excellent hiker. But aren't most Oregonians "outdoorsy" people?
It was super windy :)
I was very surprised how much of the actual hiking Ikaika did by himself. We brought two Ergos, but only packed Ikaika for the steep decline and incline up and down the crater wall. He probably walked a good 2-3 miles. And I don't feel like he slowed us down because he were only in the park for about 4-5 hours total.
We also went to the Thurston Lava Tube. And this time I made sure to bring a flashlight so we could explore the undeveloped lava tube at the end (you know, family, the one with the gate). It was so cool. Lexi packed Ikaika and I packed Koa. Unfortunately, we didn't have the flashlight - I left it in the car - so we just used the light on Lexi's iPhone (shockingly, it worked out). We turned the light off half way through the tunnel and it was pitch pitch dark. Couldn't see your own hand in front of your face. Creeeepy. Ikaika, again surprisingly, wasn't freaked out by this at all.
Then we pretended to be cave monsters. The Hills Have Eyes came up more than once.
All in all, it was a spectacular day! We drove around the dial (back home through Kona) and stopped in South Point. So I have now officially been to the southern-most part of the US/Hawaii. Didn't get to see the green sand beach (we got lost) but I am so going back with a 4W drive and finding it next time!