The sun set a few hours ago. As my wife and I drive along Crater Rim drive in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, I become more and more excited. We come out of a forested area and Kilauea caldera becomes visible to our left, glowing orange under a clear, star filled sky. As we near the end of the road the orange glow intensifies. We pull into the lot packed with cars and find a place to park. We walk through the groups of people talking excitedly. As we approach the lookout, I take a deep breath. I had no idea it would affect me this way. My wife and I both gasp at the sight before us.
Halemaumau is glowing intensely. A huge lava lake bubbles and froths; a massive plume of smoke emanates from the crater. I am trying to process what it means to experience this place. It is one of the most extraordinary sights I have ever seen.
My wife and I visited the Big Island of Hawaii in May staying for part of the time in the small village of Volcano only a few minutes drive from this view. We came to Halemaumau at least once each day and on three consecutive nights. It was difficult to pull ourselves away from this place. Halemaumau holds so much power and energy. I could have stayed for many hours watching and listening.