For instance, the lava beds I have
seen throughout the trip, the almost inconceivable swathes of jagged, char-coal-colored stones and boulders that
line fairways and roads alike, and make
this part of Hawaii like a moonscape.
Hawaii is still growing, literally, thanks
to the lava that continues to pour out of
the Kilauea Caldera to the southeast.
The lush rain forests in the nearby
Pololu Valley, so overflowing with plant
life that it would take a botanist an eter-
nity to identify the different flora, and
the funky artiness of the nearby town of
Hawi, with its yoga studios and galleries
playing Grateful Dead bootlegs.
1,500 feet above the Pacific. I witnessed
the four volcanoes that rise on this isle,
some more than 13,000 feet high. They
are occasionally dusted with snow, and
the three that are still active frequently
spew smoke that creates what locals
call “vog,” for volcanic fog.
I walked part of the King’s Trail,
built through the lava beds here in the
1800s. Legend has it that King Kame-
hameha once declared that all travelers
on this trail would be safe and protect-
ed, and he meted out harsh penalties to
those who violated that decree. And
while the trail long ago stopped serv-
ing as an important route for Big Island
travelers, it stands today as an impres-
sive historical site with petroglyphs
dating back hundreds of years.
(BACKGROUND PHOTO) View overlooking Halemaumau crater in Hawaii Volcanoes
National Park with Mauna Loa in the distance (INSETS LEFT TO RIGHT) Sample of
a petroglyph in Puako Petroglyphs Park on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii; Lava from
Kilauea Volcano meets the sea; Pololu Valley.