Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Thursday, December 11, 2008

viewing the volcano

The viewing areas and Volcano House are all at about four thousand feet in elevation. That puts you right in the belly of the clouds. for this reason, among others, viewing is limited. But the Jagger Observatory is right at the lip of the main crater. Inside the main crater is a smaller crater which is now vigorously venting sulfer dioxide. A lot of the paths, trails, and some of the roads are closed because when the concentrations of sulfer dioxide get too strong, it becomes toxic. (combined with water, sulfer dioxide become sulferic acid. It's raining through those fumes, ergo . . .)

Not so good for the local vegetation.

Due to the sulfer, it smells quite fartish.
(Oh, and combined with the moisture in your lungs, sulfer dioxide becomes sulfuric acid in your lungs. Not a good thing.)

But when you get far enough away from the vents, the vegetation lushes up. I saw all these pretty little flowers scattered through the grass like daisies.

They call them grass orchids. Just growing wild and weedy. Orchids, fer crysakes, growing like weeds in this inhospitable section of the world! nature is freaking awesome!
And the ferns do rather well, too. It's a rainforest up here. You almost expect T-Rex to come crashing through the undergrowth.

Volcano House is also sited on the lip of the main crater, but not as close to the active vents. Volcano House is a hotel which has been here since about 1830. (I'm not good at remembering dates. Somewhere around that number. Look it up yourself if you're interested.)Mark Twain stayed there during his trip around the world. In those days, people would go out at night and hike across the surface of the big crater to get close to the smaller vent where the lava was boiling and churning quite actively. They had to go at night because there were hot cracks and vents in the surface of the big crater, and at night, those cracks and vents glowed. Twain wrote about the hissing, bubbling sounds of the molten lava, saying that if you closed your eyes, you could imagine yourself to be at the side of a balling brook. There was also a strong scent of sulfer "which is not unpleasant to an accomplished sinner."

The most active vent these days is south and east of the main crater, and tourists are not allowed close since it is still errupting ash and occasional lava spatters. I am so fond of my skin in it's current condition that I am reluctant to get any closer than I have. And it was pretty neat to get that close.

Meantime, the driving to and from all these sites is allowing a lot of knitting to get done. Another scarf, done in hand-dyed cotton.

I cast on the long way and worked seed stitch till I was bored and it seemed wide enough. Very soft and lightweight scarf.


  • At 3:49 PM , Blogger Julie said...

    Waiting for a T-rex isn't coincidental. Jurassic Park was filmed on Kuai and a lot of the landscape and vegetation is, obviouisly, the same. Good eye.

    Orchids are surprisingly hardy, within their little ecological niche. Even knowing that, seeing them growing on roofs and trees always amazed me.

    You're probably noticed by now, a lot of 'endangered' plants in Hawaii are only endangered due to very limited habitats. Within those habitats (which have always been microscopic) many are thriving. I remember going up Haleakala wondering if I'd be lucky enough to see a rare silversword. Almost stepped on one getting out of the car.

  • At 10:36 PM , Blogger Willow said...

    Yeah, we had orchids all over the place in Indonesia. I think like you I'd be happy to stay a respectful distance away from the sulphuric odor.

  • At 10:36 PM , Blogger Willow said...

    Oh, and I love the cotton scarf!

  • At 8:29 PM , Blogger Tiggywinkle Knits said...

    Lovely scarf, and quite the lovely model you chose, m'dear!


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