Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hawaiian Adventure Day 6: Volcano 1 Beth 1 - Linda injured

I decided to take everyone’s advice and have a day off, just rest. Except it was sunny. And here it rains every day by noon. So Linda and Cheryl wanted to go scuba exploring, and I helped them find a series of heated tidepools on the edge of the Southern tip of the Southern island. No one swims out in the surf because at 2,700+ miles from the USA, if a rip tow takes you out to sea there is only…um…Antarctica as the next southern piece of land.

Then it was the drive through the woods where the wild things are. Then the visit to the state park of lava trees. And to town to pick up mail. And I did the decoration and preparation of 17 postcards. And then to sleep in order to go see the lava viewing. It was 5:30-10:00. I got 1/3 of my sleep and had a giant nosebleed. I thought I shouldn’t mention that until AFTER the lava.

We parked and everyone who passed me stared. The state workers and police who guard the viewing of the lava for safety said, “We don’t HAVE a blue badge parking section…we don’t GET wheelchairs.”

One person who had brought his wife in a wheelchair said, “Oh, you’ll have to stay behind, look at the lights of the lava going through the lava tubes.”

I had been told it was 1/10 of a mile. That was off a bit. Several workers stared then yelled, while I started the hopping of my wheelchair on the back wheels from one bulging bubble of lava down and over a crack to another rippled fractured lava stone. They yelled, “It is over three quarters of a mile!”

I yelled back that I was here to see the lava.

Lava is geology is motion. It is solid rock which is heated so hot that it is liquid, a liquid river of rock running down to the sea. Only something as large as the ocean can cool the lava in an explosion of fire and a smoke of acid and tiny stone fragments. And then the island is larger. This is the beginning of the story, the face of what we float on in tissue paper thickness of land called ‘plates’. Yes, I was going to see the lava, not just heated sulphur fumes but the lava itself. Click on the picture to see the waves behind the molten rock as they are about to hit it, creating another plume.

The path to see the lava wasn’t. There was no path. There was a lava flow on which reflective strips had been put. The first 200 meters were individual boulders with cracks large enough to eat my tires and not a flat surface in sight. It was hell.

After that, I decided it would take too long (I only had three hours to get there, watch and get back), and though my heart rate increased beyond what should be my maximum heartrate to 170-200 beats per minute, oxygen deprives and with nausea, I was helped upright and used the push handles on the back of my Ti-lite like grab-bars in the bathroom. It was falling down with a wheelchair, casters up, using that motion to go forward until I did fall down, or over the back. Feet flipped and I ground my ankle into razor lava (at least I didn’t feel that), I had legs which couldn’t keep up or my body lost balance and fell left or right. There were breaks with drinking Gatorade and water, and then onward, and onward. A 15 minute walk they said. Well it was an hour for me, with Linda holding me up and using her flashlight to find the next direction to lurch, a crash in motion.

It turns out that this beats boxing as I sweated from EVERYWHERE. Cheryl noted that my knees, which have NEVER sweated were wet once we got there. But I made it.

I couldn’t face leaving. One more picture. The truth is, I was oxygen deprived that I didn’t understand English, or really anything. I had used up everything to get here and see the lava. “How did you do it?” I got there by using every ounce.

After a short 30 minutes it was time to go. More falling. Cheryl told me she would need to hose me off. I was down, Cheryl telling me I couldn’t lie down, “Never Give Up! Never Surrender!” I used my hands as fists on the lava to go on. As we got close, followed by state officers and police, Linda said, “Look at the hut, we are almost there.”

I said, “close doesn’t matter, only once the finish line is passed does it matter.” I fell, and again, and pulled myself in my chair, and jumped a few more boulders. It was 20 minutes longer getting out. The officers behind me said that not only was I the last one out but I was the only person who had managed to get the wheelchair all the way to the viewing area. One half of my body was covered by muck, and I was wheeling one push at a time when the state police truck stopped and the officer thanked me for “an inspirational experience”.

I was confused. I WAS here to see lava. I wanted to see lava. There was lava. Ergo, I was going to see Lava.

Linda, Cheryl and I were all exhausted beyond description. Cheryl had to do the same as me with a hiking pole, an ankle run over by a tractor, a post broken pelvis and a back which was so crushed, it would leave a hand or limb limp and unfeeling when tired. She took the same trail. We were there to see lava.

As we finished and got to the van it started raining. See, I wanted to rest...but it was the sun's fault.

Cheryl couldn’t move, nor could I, so Linda who was driving opened the gate but when she closed it, she fell. Fell hard on our jutting pieces of lava, cutting through her jeans and slashing the hands she held out to stop her fall. I cleaned the dirt out of them, slowly, to stop her passing out. The first aid kit we had on the wish list was used extensively (about a quarter of it used up for all the wounds). The wounds are clean and healing but her hands are damaged. I will not be going to the top of the mountain to look at the stars. I would not do that to Linda, driving on non paved roads with those hands. Things happen, we all have had accidents happen, things happen. A van where you try to turn the key to open the door lowers the windows instead is easy to lock the key inside.

Tonight we drink champagne bought in Waikiki for what we accomplished. We saw the face of this earth: the raw creation. Tomorrow...I WILL rest...after I get those postcards done.


yanub said...

Oh, no! Linda! Here's to your speedy healing.

Now, you had all better rest. Good grief. You have gone from Hawaiian vacation to Frodo and Sam slog through Mordor.

wendryn said...

...damn. I'm impressed. I know you've done all kinds of things others wouldn't even think about, but I think this takes the cake.

I'm glad you got to see the lava!

Here's hoping everyone gets a little rest and healing time.

JaneB said...

Wow, what an adventure! Seeing the beginning of things does sound a cause worth a lot of reserves - and 'beating boxing' would be a goosd thing if I wasn't worried about how you suffer after boxing... rest, OK? All three of you need to work hard to recreate some of those 'lesbian sleepove hits the beach' images you've shown before on the blog, nice drinks, nice view, lounging... look after the others if you won't look after yourself!

Love to you all

Lene Andersen said...

This rest thing... I don't think it means what you think it means. ;)

But it was lava. And I understand. Because it's lava.

I hope your next entry will be all about the three of you people watching while sitting still. Not betting on it, but hoping.

FridaWrites said...

So glad you got to see the beautiful lava in person, but so sad about Linda's hands--I hope she's feeling better. I feel Cheryl's pain today, but onward!--I want to get out if I can at all.

Diane J Standiford said...

You and lava, why does that seem so perfect? Of course you had to see the lava. You two have much in common. (Linda, was she this way when you met?) Will wait for pics from top of Mt Everest. (FYI Mt. Rainier is a volcano AND has snow and Rangers you can easily take down.)

Raccoon said...

And the police just watched.


SharonMV said...

Amazing Beth, Linda & Cheryl! I hope you are not suffering too much in the aftermath of this great adventure.Beth has seen lava! Vendi, vidi, vinci. Or in this case - vendi, vinci, vidi.


Elizabeth McClung said...

Thanks for the wishes for the speedy recovery. Due to Linda's and all of our um, excess of energy use yesterday and that the Saddle Road to the observatory is a lava road which is twisting and may be excessively bumpy, and Linda would be driving, we aren't going to see stars tonight. Maybe not this trip. We saw the host of the milky way last night, out while resting, seeing the actually stpray of the milky way.

Linda's knees are healing well, her hands not quite yet. As for me, the reserves of the reserves being gone, I woke with purple fingers and oxygen deprived, and passed out a few times before 11:00 am. But then, I saw Lava, breathing is transatory, while lava is forever. haha.

Raccoon: Yeah, other than telling me how impossible it was, even coming back they just followed to make sure we cleared the area. Even when I fell, or had arms around the shoulders of Linda and Cheryl they never said anything, just followed. I didn't think that as odd until now. This island isn't exactly the hieght of wheelchair rights as the proudlly claim "We have 2,000 curb cuts!" That for a island the size of State of New York! So the question at most attractions is 'how inaccessible are they going to say this one is?' and then do it anyway. Most public beaches, being lava, are just hell blocks with nothing laid like a board walk for access. The famous green sand beach is completely inaccessible for me, as are all black sand beaches so far.

Tomorrow it is up early to see Akaka Falls (440 feet!) and other attractions including a farmers market (will there be yarn or soap here?)

I am still wearing the joggers with blood stains but most of the grind from the falls is washed off, except the lava road rash, a sort of red burn from 1,000 little points of lava.

Cheryl suggested we take it easier today, and after a while, my body agrees.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Thanks for commenting, it has been challenging to try to blog even a small portion of what is going on each day and to get feedback is great, I miss email you. Thank you for the comments.

A. J. Luxton said...


I am glad you are out there living (and sweating.) But take a rest, too. Sleep is good.

May Hawaii continue to show off its extraordinary beauty for you, with a little less road rash involved.

Denise said...

Glad to hear you are enjoying Hawaii and got what you came for: seeing the lava! Best wishes to Linda for speedy healing on her injuries, especially the hands. Hopefully you all got some rest today.

Just got your postcard. It was excellent and amusing, as always. Good advice that to "not get into lady-brawls"! I'll try to send another letter soon. Life has just been a bit insane of late. ♥

Anonymous said...

Oh, I don’t know what to say. On one hand, I’m so glad you managed to see lava, to do something that you really wanted. And it has been a great adventure and you succeeded. On the other, I hope you will not overtax yourself and I want you to come back home ok. But I know you will do what you have to do, and good for you, because that probably is what you have always done and how and why would you want to change that part of yourself just because you are ill. Normally I don’t much think about the pictures you put in your blogs, this time I wonder if going there has been as dangerous as it is in my imagination, or if by seeing them I would thing that it is even more so than I can imagine. Anyway, try resting enough to get back your reserves. And you will make the most of your time there, anyway, so I will not tell you that. And I, too, hope Linda’s hands will heal speedily.

tornwordo said...

Cool! You got to see the earth's blood spilling. Nothing would have stopped me either. You go!

Kita said...

You know, Beth you are my hero. You strive to Do, not just Be - I just couldnt do what you do!
Beautiful photos, nice to see you sweat! And I love the expression on your face - you did it!

Now, do us all a favour - rest up for a bit! :-D

Baba Yaga said...

OK, it was lava. I fully see that that was not to be resisted. But the thing about volcanos is they don't go away fast. (That is to say, if they do, you want to be a lot further away than "somewhere else on the island".)

I realise that the concept of resting first is an alien one, but I recommend you study it. All of you. You're as bad as each other!

(I do a really good school-marmy voice, so kindly consider yourselves admonished. ;-))

Glad you had the first aid kit, at least. But ow!

Neil said...

By the powers of everything good, those are awesome photos. But the very best one is of you, with sweaty arms shining from the flash.

All three of you are crazy; I hope you have realized that. Now, go rent one of those Colours In Motion all-terrain wheelchairs, and go find a black sand beach to REST on!

But the police just let you stumble on, without offering assistance? I suppose that's their way of avoiding any liability... But if the police were BEHIND you, why did Linda have to be the one closing the gate???? Inconceivable!

Oh, ouch, I hope those hands heal quickly, Linda!

Mordor, indeed, Yanub; lovely analogy.

Love, zen hugs, and healing thoughts for all muscles, sore joints, and broken skin,

Kate J said...

What an experience... sounds like it was worth it, though. However, wasn't the advance info about access rather misleading, if it was way further that you'd thought, and no proper path? Still, our intrepid band of adventurers weren't going to take no for an answer, were they? There was lava... you saw lava. QED.
Only sorry to hear that it was so hard on you, Cheryl AND Linda. Hope you've all recovered by now.
Love & peace

Cereus Sphinx said...

I hope Linda gets healed fast and that you recuperate.

I'm glad you're having adventures - but when you need to rest... Rest. Relaxing in *Hawaii*. Sounds like an awesome adventure in and of itself.

You're already MacGuyver. You don't need to do something totally badass and MacGuyverish every day to prove how awesome you are.

(yeah, if MacGuyver was a femme..... :P)

SharonMV said...

Thinking of you. I hope you are all 3 recovering. The waterfalls & farmer's market sound good. I hope Beth will not decide to climb to the top of the falls. More resting for all & more breathing for Beth.


Dawn Allenbach said...

You three are some determined bitches, that's all I have to say.

You have seen the lava. You have the scars to prove it.

Yanub -- I hadn't thought about the trek like that, but I totally agree!