Lava Tree State Monument park preserves lava tree molds formed when lava flow from an eruption in the 1700s swept across a forested area. Located in Pahoa in southeast of the Big island of Hawaii, this park is another perfect example of natures cycle of destruction and rebirth.
It is a less prominent park and most visitors only go there if they are already in the area for other activities. So was the case with us. We visited this park on our way back from a sunrise lava boat tour in Pahoa. It was only 7 in the morning so the park was desolate.
A 0.7 mile paved loop path around the park took us through some unusual lava tree molds. Lava flow from a 17th-18th century Kilauea eruption, swept across a forest area and the remnants of that distruction are the molds of Ohi'a tree trunks that we see at the park now. There are around 80 lava molds across the park but only around 40 could be seen from the path. Over time a new forest of Ohi'a has emerged.
We spent nearly an hour observing little plants growing through the molds, ferns pushing through cracks on the ground, capturing pretty little flowers and listening to singing birds. A solitary morning walk in the tropical jungle ambiance was so serene and peaceful.
We came across many tree tunnels while driving around Pahoa. The one in the pictures below was just past Lava tree park on highway 132. It was a mystical feeling to drive under the jungle tree canopy. The tree trunks masked by climbing philodendron, the hanging roots and vines made the place look unearthly. Biking or jogging on those roads would be the best thing ever.
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