Within Volcanoes National Park there’s a road that leads down from the craters to the water’s edge, where the lava cliffs and ocean waves make for a dramatic coastline. Along the way there’s an understated stopping point with a trailhead to the middle of nowhere. This particular bit of nowhere happens to be a stretch of 400-700 year old lava where native Hawaiians etched thousands of petroglyphs into the brittle crust. Some of the glyphs are clearly figurative, others simple geometry and dots. The site gave very little interpretation—perhaps we don’t know what they all mean. But it was fascinating to see the images, the ones that repeated and those that were unique, and think about the people who made them all those years ago.
At the base of the slope we parked and walked to the edge of the cliffs. The strong winds and sheer drop-off made for some spectacular waves—and made us glad not to have a bunch of little kids with us. Not far from where we stood a slender arch of stone extended from the cliff into the breaking surf.