This route started at 6672', where it climbs to the summit reaching 13677'. The trail starts out in Ohia trees until you reach the last tree at approximately 8000'. The rest of the trail traverses wide open multi-colored lava fields. Throughout the whole ~40 miles there are Ahu (rock piles) that guide you to the summit; these range anywhere from 1' to 5' tall, and from several yards to hundreds of yards apart. The lava surrounding you glows a glittery golden hue when reflected by the sun, but one wrong step off the trail could lead your leg busting through extremely sharp and jagged sheet thin lava (from experience). It is an incredible experience to continue up the volcano to the huge crater at the summit, where the bottom looks like black ocean against sheer red cliffs. After taking in the views from the top, you wind down the same through the lava fields and through the Ohia trees. The trail is almost completely exposed to the sun and any water stops are few to none.
"hands down hardest day of my life"
Photos on Strava.