Monday, March 29, 2010
Volcanos are badass.
There is no denying the badassedness of something that is actively creating Earth. Something that forms the inhabitable masses of bubbled up land from the center of the hot, molten rock we live on has got to command some respect. I had a chance to ponder such things last week in Hawai'i at the Kilauea Volcano Park.
It was a long, windy, and desolate ride out to the volcano in the rain to the park. Three matching plastic ponchos later and we were off for a guided tour with Pat the Park Ranger to learn about steam vents, plant adaptation, and what is really at the center of our Earth. And yeah...it did feel a little like Jurassic Park.
As much as the three of us were standing there wishing that the thing would spew lava like mentos in a bottle of soda, I think we would have all run for our lives if so much as a rumble from the ground happened. Standing there on the edge of the caldera looking down at the topography of that canyon, I had the thought that we were standing on top of something that absolutely nothing else in this world, no defense system or man-made shield could possibly hold back. That is awe-inspiring and oh-shit intimadating all at once.
It was a surprise to find that the park is open 24/7, and after hearing about the glow of molten lava that we could witness during the night time hours, it was no question that we would stay and check it out after the sun went down. When else can you say you visited a volcano at night? Really...if there is one thing in life that I am striving to get right, it is taking advantage of the experiences that are within reach when they are and not waiting until next time.
From where we stood at the observation point, it turned out to be little more than similar to the the glow of a flourescent bar sign with a constant column of smoke billowing from it. Being out in the dark with people from all over the world, cameras in hand, was like being at some big community camp fire waiting for Big Foot to show. I cannot lie, I did have an urge to roast a marshmallow.