Monday, March 17, 2008

More of Pele's Awesome Beauty

(Like the previous post, this was written Sunday, uploaded Monday.)

I am in the passenger seat again, with the laptop on my laptop, where I suppose it belongs, typing to you, for later uploading to my blog, instead of being chatty with my hubby to keep him awake while he drives.

We are in Hilo, having left the lava flow this evening, and we still have a two hour drive back to Kona before we can rest for the night. Its raining and Noah is asleep in the backseat.

It’s a special time here on this side of the island because the lava has burst up from a vent in the side of the mountain and has rolled down to the sea where it spills in and creates quite a show.

After leaving the Volcano National Park, we headed down to the seaside where a public viewing area has been set up. Years ago, this same flow cut through some forests and some neighborhoods and as we got to the end of the road (which used to go through but is now covered in lava) we could see a few houses out in the middle of the black lava field, completely surrounded by lava (I have no idea why they didn’t burn up!) and people are still living in them, with electricity generators and catchbasins for rain water.

At the end of the road were lines of many cars, waiting to get into the viewing area. We were told we could park where we were and walk a mile in, or wait up to 45 minutes to drive into the last parking area. We decided to park and walk, but just as we were doing so, the call came over some guy’s walkie talkie to let 20 cars in, so we got to drive in after only a couple minutes wait! When we got to a second parking area before the walk, they told us again we could park THERE are wait anywhere from 5-45 minutes but because it was getting dark, people weren’t coming out so much because they wanted to see the light show. Again, we parked and started to get out. And again, the guy got the call right then to let more cars through, and we jumped back in and drove right up to the trailhead!!

The trail in was over rocky, loose, old lava flow, and was about a quarter mile to the beach (they told us a full mile but it couldn’t have been. We were forced to stay quite a distance, but we could see two very red, very hot flows, one going into the sea and creating lors of steam and glow, and the other cutting through some vegetation and setting some nearby trees on fire.

They keep you back because there is liquid glass in the air that is not the best thing for your lungs, because of the poisonous gasses, and also because the edge of the land has at time broken off and crashed into the sea. We were right near the sea cliff just north of the flow.

We had picked up and given a ride to a nice local couple who were coming out to see the sites, and who had a better flashlight than we did. The were very cool, and gave us some good tips on things to see. Its funny, for those of you who know anything about the Gatherings that Michael and I (used to) go to (before we had three small kids) the spirit there was very similar. Lots of those with cars offering rides to those walking, lots of chatting with strangers, the hike in, the hike out, the feeling that you were experiencing something very special, and even the path with lots and lots of flashlights going by.

As we dropped our new friends off at their car and pulled away, it began to rain again. It occurred today how many times perfect timing happened to us. Getting to move three parking lots into the viewing site when our son was sound asleep and we knew he wouldn’t want to walk, the rain stopping just as we entered the Vocano Park, the rain starting again the moment we drove away from the lava flow, the sighting of Pele in the steam plume above her personal crater.

It was a beautiful birthday.

But now I must attend to my yawning husband and chat with him before he drives off the road. Still andhour and a half to go.

Tomorrow, he begins his conference, and Noah and I should take a tour on a submarine. Oh, and my valentine’s gift massage, and a LUAU, baby!!


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