From Destruction Comes Creation: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The landscape was otherworldly. A distant planet still forming in its infancy, perhaps. Smooth black rock streched on in every direction until the horizon, meeting tall mountains in the distance on one side and crashing waves on the other. Clouds loomed above, with the occasional ray of sunlight piercing through. But this is very much Earth. And once, a town stood here. That is, until a sea of lava crawled through and covered everything in sight. Now, this area - Kalapana - borders Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and my hike through it to the ocean was the most memorable, thrilling, and breathtaking experience of my 2017 travels. The hike ends at the shores of the Pacific, where fresh firey lava is still flowing right into the sea, creating more Big Island before your eyes. To witness this, the power of nature, the stillness of the land post-destruction, and the signs of new life emerging, was to see the Earth come alive. And the walk back, once the sun had set and in near complete darkness, revealed a blanket of stars so dense and bright and complete with the unmistakable swath of Milky Way cutting clear across the sky, that it felt as if I was flying through the outer reaches of space itself.