Kilauea Iki

Since the larger Kilauea Crater is closed to the public due to dangerous gasses we decided to hike the Kilauea Iki crater (which means small Kilauea).

The crater floor is one big volcanic rock slab, almost entirely flat, except for the upheavals at the steam vents and a few other cracks where vegetation has begun to take seed.

Steaming, flesh-colored fissures at the vents.

'Ama'u Fern (endemic) growing from the rock.

'Ohi'a tree (also endemic).

'Ohi'a Lehua.  So called when the 'Ohi'a tree blooms.  Connected to ancient Hawaiian legend, 'Ohi'a and Lehua were two young lovers.  But Pele, the goddess of volcano and fire loved 'Ohi'a and in her jealousy turned 'Ohi'a into a tree.  Lehua, devastated at the loss of her lover, was transformed into the Lehua flower (the red blossoms) so that they could be together.  The Legend holds that when you pick the Lehua flower, it will rain.  I'm not all that familiar with the legend, and if I've gotten it wrong (beth) please correct me.