There’s been plenty of coverage about a new eruption of the Kilauea Volcano inside Halemaumau Crater. This area of the National Park was forever changed after a massive eruption in 2018. Just a mere two years later, there’s another major eruption taking place that’s contained in the enormous caldera created from the last eruption.
The area has changed massively since our last visit in 2012. It was on that trip when we got a chance to spend one magical evening looking over the eerie orange glow coming from the crater.
This was when the visitor center had an observation deck looking over the crater. You could park nearby and walk to look over the edge. Most visitors never got to see this because they stayed on the other side of the island on the Kona beaches and Volcano was merely a day trip for them.
For us, the volcano was the reason for the trip so we stayed at a B&B in nearby Volcano Village. That meant we could make the short drive to the volcano after having dinner in one of the local establishments.
After dark, the park was mainly empty. We parked in the nearby lot and walked to the overlook. There were only a few people there and a larger group of kids. It didn’t take long for me, the Eagle Scout, to recognize the group was a local Boy Scout troop.
We were all there, looking at the glow coming from the crater when the scouts started singing.
No matter where you are, Boy Scouts are just a group of teenagers and eventually, one of them broke the mood by messing up and started to laugh which caused others to break until most of them were laughing instead of chanting.
Still for those magical 20 seconds, we were witness to a group of local kids building a connection to their past. Respecting the land they live on, understanding its power and trying to find a way to make peace between themselves and the overwhelming force of nature.
As a fellow scout, I appreciated their reverence for the volcano’s power, albeit for a limited time. I felt honored that I was able to witness something they put time and effort into learning. Respecting the land we live on is a lesson we all can learn. Hawaii locals understand better than most because Pele can wake up one day and destroy a large swath of the island and there’s not anything we can do about it.
For some, travel is about food or sightseeing. For me, it’s moments like this that make travel special. The experiences where you get to see things that most other people don’t. I don’t want to see an event where a group takes a bus to see a group of kids sing a well-rehearsed song about Pele.
However, I’ll gladly stumble across a random Boy Scout troop and listen to them chant to an active volcano until a few of them mess up so much that the entire thing stops because that’s real. Real is never perfect. It’s just sincere and true for that perfect moment and I’ll take that instead of a manufactured event any day of the week.
Thanks to this random Boy Scout Troop that let me be a witness to this event back in 2012.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
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