Chasing the Incandescent Glow of Kilauea in Kalapana, Hawaii
A towering plume of steam from the Kilauea Volcano is intermittently visible through the tree canopy over the asphalt back-roads of lush Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii. Crowds often choke the official viewing area at the end of Highway 130. But just a mile to the south, you'll find the Kalapana Village Café, an oasis strung with dazzling colored bulbs, where a weathered local sells tropical sodas at an inviting gap in the ohia trees. Her expression reads: This is the place. Here, you'll navigate an unstable coastal landscape the color of marcasite in relative solitude. Kamikaze surfers catching the day's last waves seem immune to the pyrotechnic lure of the smokestack on the horizon. At sundown, the sky turns incandescent red. In the electrified air, catch and hold the strong stench of sulfur. For all the island's exotic fauna, azure skies and glittering olivine beaches, you may fall hardest for the smell of Kalapana's lucent night.