Aloha, Kibitzers! In 2008, I had occasion to visit Hawaii, and see some of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the big island near Hilo. The park is large, and we were blowing through in one afternoon on the way to Kona so, as with everywhere, there wasn't enough time to see everything. The sort of main-ish visiting area is Crater Rim Drive, which has a visitor center and circles the big Kilauea caldera, but there's a lot more to the park than that. We decided to try and get to where the lava was then flowing into the sea. I'm not sure it's still happening in the same area, but lava does not only come out of the crater on top, like in cartoons -- it sneaks through underground passages to the ocean. We could see the steam from the hot lava hitting the water, from the closest point we could drive to, which was not all that close.
Our guidebook said to go out to "the end" of Chain of Craters Road, but the trouble was, Chain of Craters Road did not end at the sea, as it had originally, but rather abruptly where a lava flow had gone through some years earlier, leaving a huge field of roils and ropes of light-eating blackblackblack lava rock. It looked like some Surrealist paving crew on bad acid had been by. It was definitely not passable in a rented minivan.
Accordingly, getting to the ocean involved going the rest of the way on foot. It was looking like a mighty rugged walk for a bunch of middle-aged ladies who were not really dressed for hiking. We walked a little way out. The path we were supposed to take was blazed with small yellow markers, crossing otherwise-unaltered hardened lava full of lumps and crevices, in a big curve a few miles long (to avoid more dangerous areas). We decided we were not up for somebody maybe breaking their ankle in the middle of a deserted volcano eruption, so we never did get to see lava dropping into the sea. But before we started on the walk shown at left, out far enough to know it was not for us that day, we first had to brave the most awesome warning sign I have ever seen:
I think my favorite single bullet point is, Steam coming off bench contains hydrochloric acid and tiny shards of glass. But really, all of them are so excellent that, had I then had the technology to send the photo to my mother, she would have been hyperventilating until I got back to the mainland. (Her understanding was that I was going to Hawaii to sing, which was partly true. I didn't ever show her the sign.)
I cannot top this sign, but below the fold are a few other entertaining warnings from various sources around the internets. Do you have any to share?
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