Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Our trek down mount doom

Most sane new husbands wouldn't ask their lovely new wife to take a treacherous 4-hour, 10-mile (one way) hike down the side of a volcano on their honeymoon. Well, it seemed like a good idea to us at the time. We decided to take the trail that would pretty much lead us to the most remote backcountry part of Volcanoes National Park on the big island. Before we could even get a permit to take the hike, I had to answer a questionnaire about our health, gear, and agree that we were OK with the fact that the only way help could reach us would be by helicopter. In addition, two park rangers tried to discourage us from doing it. I figured that since we had a tent, water bottles and a UV water filter, we'd be just dandy. What we weren't prepared for was carrying 50+ pounds of gear down rocky pathways that clearly haven't been traversed more than once or twice a month, then filtering water with dead rats in it at the end of our journey just so we could survive the evening. Ahh, the blissfulness of honeymooning.


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The first several miles looked like this. After a while in the full scorching sun walking on top of dried lava, we started to feel a little crispy ourselves.

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Right around mile 4 or so, we found this guy to encourage us forward. We were fortunate enough to not be attacked by live wild boars at least.

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Given the fact that I was highly focused on surviving our journey, I didn't take too many pictures on the way down that turned out very well. But we made it to the shore in time for sunset.

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As it turned out, our voyage down mount doom brought us to the most beautiful beach and view we saw on our entire honeymoon. I didn't take photos of the beach itself because, well, you have to earn that view and I kind of felt like if I photographed it, something sacred would be lost. This hike, while certainly the most challenging (and painful) I've ever done, solidified the fact that without a doubt that I married the right woman.

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Freelance photographer based in Columbia, MO.

I received my master's degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri.

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