Cafe Ono & Pu’u Huluhulu Hike

Continuing on with our Volcano National Park adventure on the Big Island, we were getting hungry after all the crater hiking we did earlier. With a little help from Yelp, I navigated us to a highly rated vegetarian restaurant outside of the park called Cafe Ono. It's half cafe, half gallery, and a very good one at that.

I loved that it had a goat, gardens, and even a tree sanctuary. We ordered, then walked around and enjoyed the shopping. My mom and I bought matching glass volcano ornaments, just beautiful.

The food came and was enjoyed by all of us, especially the guys who got an excellent crustless veggie quiche, which turned out to be David's favorite meal of the whole trip. I got the vegan chili with brown rice. Everything was very fresh and came with seed/grain garlic bread, which was maybe the best garlic bread I've ever had.

Our afternoon activity was going back to the park for one more hike. The park ranger had recommended the Pu'u Huluhulu hike as his personal favorite. It's a 3 mile out-and-back with 150' of climb up the Pu’u Huluhulu cone (a cone is a pile or erupted material surrounding a vent). The hike is over some more recent lava flows from 1973 & 1974.

The coolest thing about the hike is the remnants of trees that the lava formed around and burned or melted. From the Park website: “Lava trees are formed when fast moving lava flows around a tree. The cool and moist trunk causes the lava to crust around the tree. When the flow is short lived, it drains off leaving behind standing lava trees.”

They're hollow in the middle.

Other parts of the hike are a bit barren and its fairly flat minus the climb up the Pu’u Huluhulu cone (hill). Sill there's something about desolate desert beauty that gets me every time.

I had no idea there is such thing as desert orchid (left), but am impressed at what colorful life can grow in the lava rock.

The climb to the top of the cone ended with a little observation deck.

On a clear day, you can see a number of landmarks including Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, Pu’u ‘O’o and the Pacific Ocean. We couldn’t see the ocean but could see both active eruptions.

Mom and I taking a break at the top.

At the viewpoint, we could see the Halema’uma’u Crater and the Pu’u ‘O’o eruption.

After a quick return with the wind at our backs, we were pretty psyched to be done hiking for the day. We had one last tourist stop the Sea Arch accessed via the Chain of Craters Road. Chain of Craters road is a 10 or 15 mile drive depending on your starting point with a lot of elevation drop down to the sea.

The Arch was cool, but there were so many tourists, and no sign of lava flow at the time.

We took our quick pictures, then it was time to get back for an early night – our wake up call for our Lava Hike was at 1:45 AM the next morning!!


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