27 May 2008

Earth, air, fire, water, spirit

TWITTER: Will be dark w/in 30 min. On our way to see lava flowing into the sea... Dark hike in a dangerous place. 11:01 PM April 17, 2008 from txt

TWITTER: Wow. We survived. Black night. Treachorous lava field. Red burning lava meeting the sea in boiling steam. 01:20 AM April 18, 2008 from txt

Donned the required long pants, sturdy shoes, gloves, flashlights. Set out for the southeast part of the lava flow, where the ocean meets the magma, near Kalapana.

Renata had told us it would only be a 1-mile hike over the lava field to reach the active flow. She was right. But she neglected to mention that we would probably have to park at least a mile away from the trail head. So it was a dark 2-mile hike (1 mile on black top road uphill, another mile over the lava field). We were exhausted after the exertions from earlier that day.

It gets so dark here! There is no light pollution. And walking across the lava field was difficult enough in broad daylight. This is treacherous. If you fall, the lava lacerates without mercy.

There are many other people making the inky black, blind, trek. Many are talking as we all try to follow the little flourescent strips that mark the way to our destination.

It comes into view. Voices are silenced. Orange fire spews into the night sky. The lava has found an egress in an ocean cliff. Molten earth spurts from the cliff into the ocean. Mighty waves crash upon the lava, bubbling, squeaking, hissing, as they touch the magma.

Here's what it looks like after dark, where Madame Pele spews into the raging ocean (Windows Media). I think my heart stopped.

EARTH... AIR... FIRE... WATER... and my sated spirit... all in one place, a conflagration of such proportion that my heart had trouble holding the moment.

There was little conversation on the long hike back to the car. We were introspective. The earth is an amazing place.

If you know Mike, you know he can talk just about anyone into just about anything. He actually convinced a couple we'd never met before to give us a lift to our car (they had gotten into the closer parking area), so it was only a 1-mile hike back to the car. Great couple... based on the 4 minutes we were with them. :-)


  1. WOW!!!!!!!!! How glose did you get to the flow? The heat had to be somethingelse! Breath taking for sure!!!!

  2. not so close. They don't let you very close.