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Friday, March 01, 2002


Hiked into the crater with some new acquaintances last night.

Saw the sun setting as we were driving up. Hiked in by moonlight, wearing three layers of clothing to fight the bitter winds two miles above the Pacific. Eight and a half miles of gravel and loose lava rock trail, descending almost three thousand feet into the crater, we arrived around midnight at our lunar cabin.

We fired up the wood burning stove, ate dinner by candlelight, and promptly passed out.

I was up a good hour before anyone else (which I attribute to the high fat and protein content of my dinner as compared to the pure-carb meals they had assembled) and as I sat on a gravely mound in front of the cabin staring off into the day lit moonscape, I heard a pair of soft moos behind me. I couldn't imagine any herd animals up this high... turned around to see a couple Nene hiking by a few feet behind me. They look something between geese and ducks; they mate for life and always travel in pairs; I discovered later in the day that they sound very heavy when they glide in for a landing; and they gently moo instead of honking.

We headed out around half past ten, hiked a different route, almost ten miles back, amongst cinder cones, down lava flows, over fruity colored sands, up zig-zag trails scaling cliffs, and over the rainbow bridge, which is actually a ridge, just a few feet wide, dropping sharply on both sides, to a cloud bank on one side and a barren crater on the other. From the top we were standing over the clouds, watching the sparkles on the ocean from a hundred miles away. We found our car at 4pm, and returned home. (Everyone else was exhausted, but I hardly felt I'd been hiking. Once again I credit the difference in diet.)

Alas, I am having trouble downloading ims from my camera, so I didn't bring it.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com