Thursday, August 12, 2010


Saturday was a pretty big deal. Living right on the edge of my comfort zone. I had to see the volcano before leaving and I really only have one weekend left here, so Saturday I packed a bag and set out on my own to go see it. I had a few possible plans, but decided to see where the day took me. I figured as long as I had a knife and a rain fly, it didn’t really matter where I wound up.

I stuck my thumb out at the top of the farm's driveway and got picked up by an Australian who was driving around the perimeter of the island for the day. Since he didn’t really have a plan, he took me all the way to the farmer’s market in Kolani (about an hour and a half away from the farm). The market was in an open, colorful building and filled with hippies and surfers and other colorful personalities. I found some free kitties in a box and was told to go walk around with them. So I did. As I wandered around the space, picking up papayas, an avocado and some banana bread, I developed a trail of 10 year old kids following the kitten that was sitting atop my backpack. I passed the kitty of to them and went to sit on a stump and people watch.

I hitched a ride to go see the lava flow, but was discouraged from going during the day- too much effort and not really worth it unless its dark out. So, I rerouted to Volcanoes National Park, where I got cell service WHOO HOO! I took the advice that my ride gave me and walked through the Kilua Iki crater. I’ve always gone hiking with the Anderson clan or Zach. Hiking alone was a new and exhilarating version of a familiar activity.

The crater floor was a wild expanse of broken sheets of lava and the trail was marked only by those little rock pyramids. I bounced along, snapping pictures and climbing on rocks. I really couldn't have asked for a better afternoon, except maybe for a pink Jolly Rancher from mom's fanny pack a la 199. After the crater, I cruised through a lava tube, checked out the sulphur vents (cool, but nothing compared to the crater) and made my way toward the observation deck at the Jagger Museum.

It started getting cool as soon as I got to the Jagger Museum (a 4+ mile walk from the lava tube/crater that I misread as closer to 1 mile on the map). I was toying with the idea of leaving the park and heading to a beach, where I knew I would be warm and sleep comfortably, but doubted that I would be able to get a ride out of the park.

I changed my mind about ten times as I walked, checked the weather (low of 60 degrees) and threw a mental temper tantrum. I felt stuck and was definately not prepared to camp in the cold. I grabbed an extra sweatshirt in the gift shop and decided to make the best of it. I spent the next few hours snacking on my delicious farmers market buys and the bag of lychees one of my rides gave me. I watched the sun go down (not fantastic) and the volcano begin to light up (fantastic).

I listened to some impressively smart 10 year olds name constellations (Scorpio, Summer Triangle and the Souther Cross were all new to me) before hiking through the pitch black night to the campground. I slept for about three hours that night. I was about as layered as I could have been, but didn't have a warm sleeping bag. I wrapped myself in my rain fly to try to cut the wind and keep in my body heat. Realistically, I was in no physical danger. But WOW! what an incredible excercise in mental vs. physical! I finally decided to "get up" at about 4:30am and watch the sunrise over the volcano. As I did, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment that set the tone for Sunday. Needless to say, it was a good weekend :)

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