I gazed up at the undulating, rough lava flank of Mauna Loa. "We can turn back if it gets too awful," I promised. We both knew it would have to get pretty awful for us to turn around.
|The lava fields of Mauna Loa.|
So this trip seemed frivilous, but it turned out to be something I needed: to scramble over tricky lava in dripping heat, to snorkel for hours during an inshore swell that made the sea feel like a muscle. There was no lounging in hammocks for us. Of course, there wouldn't have been anyway.
|A beach you have to work to get to.|
|The most perfect beach ever. You have to hike to it.|
The best part of the trip was at dark, staring into the glow of the new lava lake, a vent opened up on the volcano in 2008. It looked like a distant fire from a mile away. We could hear the thunder of rocks splitting in the heat as the lava rose to its greatest height recorded so far. It was primal and raw, creation and destruction. Life beginning, life ending.
|This is what the lava lake looks like (the Park wouldn't let us this close so I took this from volcanodiscovery.com.|