The Four Seasons was glorious, but we managed to leave once or twice. Hawaii is a pretty compelling island after all.
First, we all ventured out to see one the island’s live volcanoes, Kilauea, from a helicopter. Along with a few cliffs and waterfalls. The volcano made me cry. Not because I’m afraid of lava, although, of course, I am, but because it brought home how alive our planet is.
A living system.
We flew right near the caldera. You can see a bit of molten lava through the smoke, like an invisible spirit’s campfire. The rest is flowing, underground in tubes, or overground through the forests. This time, the eruption is burning parts of a town. Unlike my childhood nightmares, the lava moves slowly, and there is plenty of warning, but the losses can be heartbreaking for small businesses.
I took only a few pictures, and the ones I managed mark the experience but don’t convey it. As long as I can show you that the flight was a once in a lifetime type of experience, and not even too scary until we flew near the cliffs.
The waterfalls are nifty.
But drafts in the canyons lead to turbulence. Here’s a video. You can maybe see how we jittered. I have no closeup photo of this waterfall since my eyes were closed, and my right fist clenched tightly around my daughter’s hand. It’s hard to hold a camera in that position.
You see the pilot, my head, my daughter, and one of the other passengers. My husband, son, and two others sat in the back. Seating order was determined by height and weight, not by readiness to sit atop the sky. Huh.
The next day, my kids and I drove several hours around the island and up to a park at the top of the same volcano, where we hiked around an older caldera. We began in a rain forest, on the Iki trail.
And switch-backed our way down to the caldera floor. Redheads wear hats.
Lava still flows, underneath. Steam issues from fissures.
Once traversed, we looked back across. I have no words of description. Otherworldly, perhaps?
Well worth doing, both the helicopter, which is expensive, and the hike, which costs only the $10 admission to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.
Hawaii. On beyond palm trees, to the moon.
Note: We flew with Blue Hawaiian. I have nothing but good things to say about the company, their processes, and our pilot.