Friday, December 22, 2006

Whoever Smelt It, Dealt It

10:49am- I love plate tectonics and I love volcanoes so friend takes us on tour of Volcanoes National Park. Our first trail, called Sulphur Banks, has us traversing land where cracks spew noxious yellow clouds of gas. Fascinated, I lean too far over. Face poached like overpriced egg at Ritz-Carlton Sunday brunch.

11:00am- While walking along trail, friend grabs 3 berries from shrub and instructs us to try them. Concerned they are poisonous, but standing atop active volcano, decide to throw caution to wind. Eat berry. Pecked to death by Nene, or Hawaiian goose. Appears this is their main food staple during breeding season.

2:14pm- Lava tubes! Lava tubes! Walk through this exciting natural phenomenon only to trip in dark, pass out and drown in inch-deep water.

5:38pm- Hike out onto hardened lava fields just before sunset to watch fresh lava spew all fiery orange and molten into Ocean right before eyes. Walking over glassy-sharp lava with limited light source expectantly difficult. Trip over laces of new hiking shoes, slip down crack. Bloodied, but alive, am left to fend for self by friends.

6:10pm- Sitting atop cooled rock enjoying a hiker’s dinner and watching lava show, am reminded that just that afternoon a warning had been issued that 55-acre lava shelf collapse was imminent. The same shelf on which I am now perched. Sploosh!

Other than that, pretty good day.

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