Saturday, November 22, 2014

Steaming Vents

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

     My eyes follow my nose down into the abyss, blinking to avoid the reeking steam.  About a dozen feet down, lodged on an outcropping, lies a man.  His skin is lobster pink.  His lips are puffy.  His eyeballs bulge like poached eggs.
     He isn't climbing out on his own.  He's been boiled alive.

                                                                       from Murder at Volcano House
                                                                        by Chip Hughes

Why do I do this to myself?  Read these murder mysteries while exploring our national parks.  Night of the Grizzlies while camping in Glacier National Park.  Nevada Barr's Ill Wind while touring Mesa Verde.  And Murder at Volcano House, the night before I hike to the steaming bluffs on the big island of Hawaii.
My senses do not need to be elevated.  The beauty and mystique of these parks should be enough, shouldn't it?  But, oh no, I need to scare the living crap out of myself before I venture into the wilderness.

This particular hike, out to the Steaming Vents, from the Volcano House is scary enough.  I mean, it's truly unbelievable that we tourists are even allowed out here.  There are many warnings to stay clear of the volcanic gas if it becomes too thick.  Like smog.   We could definitely smell the sulfur dioxide as we walked (quickly) by these potholes of steam.  Fascinating.  But unnerving.

Do yourself a favor though.  Don't read Murder at Volcano House BEFORE the hike.  Wait until AFTER!

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