Monday, July 18, 2005
The Bs have a yearly pass for the national parks and we liberated that for the weekend. The girl working the booth seemed to not believe that I was B, but so it goes. She let us in and we began our tour. After making our rounds at the major sights (some of the many), we headed down to where the hike to the flowing lava began. This time there was no way we were not going to go out and see the glowing lava after dark. The hike out over broken lava was about 2 miles, and we made it out there as the sun finished its fall.
Amazing. Up on the hillside were streaks of glowing orange lava trails with flashing cameras and bobbing flashlights all around (many people ignored the ropes and kept walking. We used the ropes as an excuse to be lazy and stop walking). However, the best part was where the lava was hitting the ocean. The steam cloud was quite large, and we could see lava flowing out, cascading upwards, and lighting up the steam. A bit surreal. I felt as though I was at the end of the earth. The wind was howling unceasingly around us. Waves crashed against the rocks and vied with the wind for domination of our ears. Overhead a half moon and the stars poured down their light upon us. Reminiscent of creation-type stories, the lava and ocean met explosively casting orange-red light into the cascading steam and across the land and ocean, a creation of new land taking place before our eyes. A bit hard to explain, I suppose, but I loved it.
Eventually we tired of the sharp lava poking new holes and gashes in us, and we made our way back to the car. D got separated and managed to head off in the wrong direction and wander across the hillside. It was not a problem, and he managed to catch up to us before we got to the car.
Unfortunately, the only camping area (accessible without a long hike) was closed and leaving the park forced us to deal with the possibility of 'our' pass being rejected the next day when we returned to see more. Our solution? Sleep in the car. D and E had no problem. They fell asleep quickly and stayed that way most of the night. C didn't have as easy a time and didn't sleep much. Me? Very little. I've decided that I get one chance at sleeping in vehicles. If I fall asleep I'll stay that way for a bit. If I am almost asleep but am disturbed, that's it. And that's what happened. I was almost completely under when C began snoring and I woke up. After tossing a while, I climbed out the window and wrapped up in a blanket next to the car. Sleep almost overtook me once again, but people walking by were fascinated by a person sleeping on the ground and discussed me at length. And pointed all their flashlights at me. Finally I gave up and moved to the other, windy side of the car. I was more hidden, but completely exposed to the wind. I suffered this for a while and napped a bit but eventually tired of the wind and climbed back into the car, nodding off for about an hour until the sun rose and the next day began.
More later. Now I sleep.