Zach pondering Kilauea Iki Crater at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. From up here at the overlook you can see the active, steaming ash plume of Halemaumau crater in the distance.
The trail drops 400 feet in about 1.4 miles through a rainforest switchback. We were doubtful about Zach's ability to make the trail down and up, but he INSISTED on giving it a try.
The trail descends quickly into lush rainforest. It was beautiful and shady and luckily fairly dry and temperate that day.
Then at the bottom you are literally in a different climate zone just a mile and a half from where you started. Harsh, barren desert where only the most tenacious plants manage to break through the lava rock and give sparse life to this moon like landscape.
Zach was VERY proud of himself for making it to the bottom of the Kilauea Iki crater. We let him know that getting up is a whole different story. But he skipped his way up happily, never asking once to be carried. Doug and I did however ask him to carry us.
Eating some victory ice cream while watching the steam billow rapidly from the crater... there are signs everywhere warning that if the wind changes directions, get ready to run.