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Walk with the Friends in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Aug. 12)

Evidence of the last march of a 1790 Hawaiian warrior party can be found in fossilized footprints preserved in the hardened ash of the Ka’u Desert. (Photo courtesy of Amberle Keith)


The public is invited to join the Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes Park (FHVNP) for a “Sunday Walk in the Park” 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 12.

This monthly program on second Sundays is aimed at bringing together the members of FHVNP to share in the park’s beautiful trails.

Join volcanologist Cheryl Gansecki for a four-mile round-trip hike to explore features from Footprints Trail to Mauna Iki.

At the Footprints trailhead, we will examine textural details of an aa lava flow. Once we descend to the sandy desert, we’ll view footprints fossilized in the muddy ash in 1790.

As we approach Mauna Iki, we will see a pahoehoe lava field with unusual secondary mineralization that results in beautiful surface patterns. From there, we’ll ascend Mauna Iki (little mountain) to explore a variety of volcanic features. If we’re lucky, we may come across beautiful Pele’s Hair, wafted downwind in the plume of Halemaumau Crater.

Gansecki is a volcanologist with a Ph.D. in Geology from Stanford University and a B.A. in Earth Science and Archaeology from Wesleyan University. Her research includes volcanoes in Hawaii, Greece, and Yellowstone National Park.

She has worked as a geologist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory mapping lava flows on Mauna Loa, a lecturer at the University of Hawaii at Hilo; has given numerous lectures and led tours for teachers; Elderhostel and other educational programs in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Gansecki is co-owner and president of Volcano Video Productions, where she films and produces the ongoing “Eruption Update,” seen daily in the park’s Kilauea Visitor Center.

The hike is rated moderate, with four miles of hiking along hardened lava trails and a 100-foot elevation gain. Be prepared for the base 3,000-foot elevation as well as for variable weather conditions, including sunny and windy.

Hikers should be in good condition, able to do without shade all morning in a remote, rugged area.

FHVNP’s “Sunday Walk in the Park” is free for Friends members, and non-members are welcome to join the non-profit organization in order to attend.

Annual memberships are $30 for individuals and $45 for families, and come with a variety of benefits.

To register, call Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes Park at 985-7373 or visit

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