The sky changed from its early morning color to bright blue by the time I headed out, bright blue with a quickly spreading white cloud. But oh! that's not a cloud - it's fumes, coming from the vent with Halema`uma`u. White, billowing, spreading, beautiful.
I started my wandering by following that rising white. The Jaggar Museum was a good spot for an unobstructed view. I stayed there for a bit, snapping photos, absorbing the sight.
Time to walk... I headed to the the Kilauea Iki Trail, a loop that starts high on the crater's rim, that drops down to the crater floor. The trail description indicated that there was a 400 foot descent/ascent, equivalent to climbing down and up a 40-story building. The initial sections on the crater fall required eyes to watch where feet were to be placed. It was more than a bit uneven. Eventually the surface changed, becoming smooth, promoting easy walking. At that point the black rock started to wear white lines as decoration. Patterns of white crossed the black of hardened lava, patterns of white decorated the blue skies. From the higher elevation pieces of the trail I could see the rising plume of smoke from Halema`uma`u.
I originally planned to do a second hike this afternoon. Instead, I spent my time following interesting patterns in the sky. I walked part of Crater Rim Trail, I repeated part of the Sulphur Banks, I watched the colors of the clouds change from white to patterned white and gray.
Dinner tonight was at Thai Thai (again). A tasty, somewhat spicy verion of Pad Thai made my stomach quite happy.
I was hoping to catch the glow from the crater this evening, but the rain that started late this afternoon is continuing to fall. I have a feeling that the rain against the roof may lull me to sleep tonight. And I do have two more nights to catch the volcano's glow. Fingers crossed...