Thirty years ago today, Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park began erupting along the eastern rift zone and it hasn’t stopped since. In that time, the Big Island volcano has destroyed nine miles of road and 200 structures but also created nearly 600 acres of land—the newest on Earth.
I’ve had the chance to visit Kilauea numerous times, and hiked across miles of lava fields to see the surface flows, and also headed out before dawn to witness the eruption at the volcano’s Halemaumau Crater—the dwelling place of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess.
You go to Kilauea for the chance to see steam clouds flashing orange and rising into the night sky as the lava flows into the ocean. But my most memorable moment at the park occurred early on a November morning just after a storm. The rising sun revealed the cloudless summit of 13,796-foot Mauna Kea, thirty miles away and covered with the winter’s first snow. So come for the fire. And stay for the ice.