Our final day in Volcano was fairly low key, mostly because we were still exhausted from the previous day - not to mention the fact that I was walking around with bandaged feet. We headed back down Chain of Craters Road, though, to see things we'd missed the night before. First, we took a side road off of Chain of Craters to go see the Hilina Pali.
Pali is the Hawaiian word for cliff, and the Hilina Pali, we learned, is what is called a fault scarp, meaning that over time, part of the land has shifted about 1000ft. downward along a fault line, creating a spectacular view of the coastal plain from the higher ground. The drop is not quite as sharp as it appears, but it is steep - especially when you're climbing back up. You can see David in this shot giving a bit of perspective to how impressive it all is.
After that little trip, we made our way down, stopping along the way to look at various old craters and trying not to be blown away by the wind, which by that time had reached gale force. I never saw an official measurement, but it was strong enough to make driving alongside sheer drops just a smidge frightening.
As we made our way closer to sea level, the wind died down a bit, and eventually we came to the Pu'u Loa petroglyph field, which is the largest in Hawai'i. Here the ancient Hawaiians had recorded images to tell about their lives. There were also a number of piko, which were small holes cut into the lava where part of the umbilical cord of a newborn was placed to ensure the child's long life.
After leaving the petroglyphs, we drove to the end of the road and contemplated trekking it back onto the lava fields to see the flow again, but by that time we were just too tired and not up to being around the hoards of people who were there for nightfall - something we'd pretty well avoided by going later the night before. So instead we drove back up to the 1000ft. overlook and watched the steam plume flow as the light faded and the lava glow again became apparent.
The following morning, we packed up, said our goodbyes to our host (but not before I had bought two of his Buddha carvings - one mask and one seated Buddha) and took the long way back around the Hilo side of the island to the Kona airport to head to Honolulu, about which I've already written.
I didn't take pictures of our drive on the Hilo side of the island. We weren't in a rush, but it's just as well, as I managed to leave my driver's license in the rental car when we returned it and had to spend a good bit of time retrieving it so that I could get on the flight to Honolulu. The entire Hilo side, though, was very much like our visit to Pololu Valley writ small - lush valley after lush valley after lush valley, most of them small, but very steep and achingly beautiful. Exploring them is yet one more reason to add to my list of why I should return.