Thursday, July 19, 2012


Haleakala as viewed from our oceanside resort. 
The crater at the top of the now dormant Haleakala Volcano on Maui is large and deep enough to hide Manhattan. We passed up the opportunity to watch the sunrise from its rim simply due to the 2:30am wakeup call. Instead we opted for a late morning excursion that had us coasting down her wide flanks on bicycles with blessedly strong brakes.
Haleakala Crater
Haleakala Crater II
The sandy hills are former lava vents.
A cold wind pummelled us at the top, sending the girls and I running for the glassed in viewing shelter. I'd hate to think what it felt like at 5am! Thankfully the tour company had leant us rain/wind gear. The bike ride down started three thousand feet lower so there was no risk of us being blown off course into oblivion. 
Hams on Haleakala
The surrounding terroir changed dramatically from top to bottom: sun, rain, sun and rain; arid stretches with only scrub grasses, cacti, and prickly shrubs; towering pines and eucalyptus groves giving way to fields of cattle and sugar cane; thick rain forest that had me humming 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and longing for a machete (to slash through the undergrowth, not slay lion!). A far more fit person might aspire to biking up that diva. That ship has sailed for this rider. We all had a great time and would highly recommend it. Kudos to the Captain for not ditching us in search of a thrill ride and to the kiddos for not a single wipe out. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Volcano National Park

 Call me crazy, but I've always wanted to see an active volcano--from a safe distance, of course. In honour of turning 40, I made a wish for a trip to Hawaii. While I was denied flowing lava by Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of all things hot, the experience was nonetheless spectacular. In the photo above, Emma and Mouse huddle in the lava tube located in the back yard of our Volcano Village cottage. Below is the tsunami evacuation area just outside of the park. With as much volcanic activity in the area as there is, occasional tsunamis are as inevitable as the quakes that cause them. Let's just say we didn't linger.

Shortly after sunset one night we voyaged to the Kilauea crater to view the glow of lava percolating 200ft below the opening. Instructions for hiking in the area recommended sturdy boots, lots of water, wind and rain gear, and sunscreen. There were signs posted warning of areas with poor air quality due to expelled gases. There were also signs to watch out for a distant relative of the Canadian Goose, called a ne-ne, who seems to have survived the eruptions just fine, but is under serious threat of extinction due to humans.  We never did see one.

I was fascinated with the variety of forms of lava we found. Some of them looked like reptile skin. Others looked like a backyard barbecue that got out of hand. Even more remarkable was the life springing from the cracks and crevices. I feel like I've travelled to a place of birth... and rebirth.