The 1959 eruption in Kilauea Iki that built Puu Puai with lava fountains up to 1900 feet high devastated the area south-southwest of Puu Puai. Since then, that area has been left to regenerate on its own—a sort of experiment. Hikers passing through the area on the famous Devastation Trail have been an ingredient in the experiment, too, but they are kept to a boardwalk in order to keep from trampling the new plants.
Offerings to Pele—oranges, apples, grapes, pears, leis, bottles of gin, bouquets of flowers—lie on an altar-like boulder beyond the fence. Please treat this site, and these offerings, with respect. Far below, Halemaumau huffs and puffs steam plumes through its sulfursplashed, reddish walls and lava floor, while white-tailed tropicbirds soar through the hot mist.
© Kathy Morey/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.