Night along the trail

So let’s say you take a trip to Hawaii and manage to hike out to where the lava meets the sea. Pretty spectacular, particularly at night:

Pele's workshop

But of course, you hiked there in the dark (likely) over near-black lava (certainly), and now you need to get back to your car, in the dark. Makes for a pretty tough scene unless you brought a flashlight. Luckily, though, most folks remember this little item of equipment (although you’d be surprised how many show up unprepared)

Once you’re back at the trailhead, you can take a long-exposure shot of the folks behind you on the trail:

Night along the trail

If you’re having trouble visualizing what’s going on, here’s a VERY STRETCHED shorter exposure shot from the same spot:


Note that all the ground below the horizon is solidified lava flows, the sky is only visible here because I took this on a cloudy night. I’m still amazed at how much detail is visible in this frame…

4 thoughts on “Night along the trail

  1. I am going to Hawaii in March ’11 – how does one go about hiking out to where the lava meets the sea? Can you do this on your own or is it part of a special tour group that you have to sign up for?

    • It’s a pretty easy thing to do, and you can do it by yourself (well, along with a ton of other folks that are doing the same thing by themselves…). From the Hilo side of the island, drive to Kalapana and keep heading southwest on Chain of Craters road. When the road ends, you’re there — at least, you’re at the trailhead. Park, and follow the markers (as close as you’ll get to a “trail”) on foot until you get to the barricades that mark the limit of safe viewing. If you want to see this after dark (the best option for this place, since all you see in daylight is steam), make sure to take a flashlight — or better yet, a head lamp. You’ll also want to take some water for the hike.

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