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Thurston Lava Tube
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Entrance to the Thurston Lava Tube

Continuing on down the road from the Kilauea Iki overlook there is the vastly popular tourist wide spot on the other side of the road where you will discover a complete, developed lava tube excursion!

It is a small hike up and then down, down from the road to whet your appetite for this type of revelation, but when you get there you will finally see the type of passages that lava loves so well to travel along there in the bowels away from the prying eyes of man.

At this very minute some 10 miles east lava is flowing through a similiar conveyance in a seeming inexhaustable slide to the sea.


Inside the Thurston Lava Tube

Like any cave it is damp as you assume your own flow through the tunnel. As you can see the National Park service has endeavored to make your journey as safe as possible with elevated platform and handrails!

You still have to duck your head in spots, and I was surprised that there was no warning sign to that effect. But I suspect that it is designed as part of the ride to allow the public to discover a few things for themselves.

There are also (dim) lights throughout the entire passage, to allow you to inspect the cavern walls and keep from tripping on your shoelaces.


Exiting the Thurston Lava Tube

Never having tubed before, I had no idea of whether at some point I must turn around and commence the reverse process, or if somehow the earth would miracuously open, and there would be a sign from above leading to my redemption.

As you see here, the latter proved to be the case albeit with the aid of the the National Park Service backhoe. Nevertheless, the exit is almost as enchanting as the entrance, leading you to the thought that you might want to attempt one more entire revolution of the process.

It is a great walk back to the parking lot through the rainforest canopy.


More Mysteries Await the Adventurous

Just as you start that stairway climb out of the tunnel, there is this sign hanging on a gate for you to read. At first glance you are expecting it to forbid entrance on penalty of revoking your visa or some such nonsense. . . BUT NO !

You are cordially invited to tube on! This is possibly a first in the history of the protective United States government, and you have to take your hats off to the park service for this effort.

Unfortunately the sign is such a surprise that I think no one has been foresighted enough to bring a flashlight and take the park service up on this offer.


Wonderful Informative Signs

Here on the path to the tube is another of the excellent markers provided by the park service to attune your mind to what your body is experiencing here among the wonders of the world.

As I may have mentioned before, this whole east side of Kilauea caldera is in a rainforest, and here, while traversing a lovely path you have the opportunity to examine and experience first hand what a rainforest habitat is like!

Since the tunnel is at the bottom of Kilauea Iki and would drain a serious future flow, this entire area might one day succomb to fire!