Top 5: Tours of Volcanoes

I am at the point in my Geography course where I am introducing my students to volcanism and I’ve been thinking back to few volcanoes I have seen in my lifetime. They were absolutely awe inspiring, just thinking of how they formed, and the power the have on our planet. I am looking forward to adding more volcano trips to my list of adventures.

This might be a bit of a biased list, since I have been to the top 3. My apologies, but I would love to say I have been to all of them!

5. Mount Yasir, Vanuatu

To get to the most accessible and one of the most active volcanoes would be such a great adventure! The island is so isolated and untouched, it would be a great place to hike, too!

4. Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland

I would love to go to Iceland to see the volcanoes, glaciers and mid-Atlantic Ridge ripping up the landscape of this hostile environment, with the nicest people around. It would especially be neat to see the result of that hyped Eyjafjallajokull eruption a few years ago.

3. Mount Vesuvius, Italy

Visiting Pompeii, then hiking up Mount Vesuvius (in flip flops…oops) was one of the highlights of my trip to Italy a few summers ago.

Pompeii was so eerie and fascinating, but I went rather quickly from destroyed house to destroyed monument. That summer was one of the hottest in recent years in Italy, and walking around in an open area like that in 50 degree celsius temperatures was not going so well.

At least it was a tad bit cooler, with a breeze when I arrived at the top of Mount Vesuvius and enjoyed the view of Naples below.

2. Mauna Kea, Hawaii

I took a geoscience course on the Big Island of Hawaii a few summers ago and had a rare chance to climb to the top of the tallest mountain in the world. I love telling my students this when I introduce the topic. YES – that’s right, if you measure the elevation from the base of the mountain well below sea level – it then IS the tallest mountain in the world.

My professor drove part way up the mountain and we were able to then hike to a series of obsevatories, take a tour of one, then proceed to the summit of Mauna Kea.

yes, that’s in Hawaii…looks like beach weather, doesn’t it?

1. Kilauea, Hawaii

On the same course that took me to the summit of Mauna Kea, our professor drove us to the most active volcano in the world – Kilauea. We hiked to the shore along old lava flows and sat in a circle discussing the history of this fascinating volcano.

As the sun began to set, the red glowing lava was easy to see, as it exited from lava tubes under the surface, and into the Pacific Ocean. It was one of the most awe inspiring things I have seen.

I didn’t include Yellowstone on this list. I’m not sure if it’s fair to include a supervolcano – it would blow all the others out of the competition (literally?).

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Top 5: Roads for Cruisin’

I am a big road trip fan, and I always need to be the one behind the wheel (except when driving a manual transmission in Italy – thanks Katie for taking on that job!).

I’ve done a few gorgeous road drive in my day, and I am going to attempt to pick my mostest favoritest ever.

This is going to be hard.

5. Highwood Pass – Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada

I’ve been back and forth on this road a billion times, it feels like. I know it like the back of my hand, I suppose! It was all those early morning and late night drives in search for the perfect grizzly bear to observe.

4. Rogers Pass – TransCanada Highway in B.C., Canada

I didn’t expect much on my way to Revelstoke, B.C.. But this pass was absolutely breathtaking. The wildflowers were the most colourful and widespread I had ever seen!

I wasn’t able to stop and capture my own photo!

3. Going to the Sun – Glacier National Park: Montana, U.S.A.

I’ve completed this drive 3 times now, and I will never, ever get sick of it. It would really be nice to drive it some day when I can actually see the sun peeking through the gloomy clouds. Still – jaw-dropping beauty with all the glaciers, pine trees (ohhh the smells!), and mountain goats.

2. Amalfi Coast – Italy

Zing – jaw dropping scenes and those crazy little towns like Positano hanging off the side of those sheer rock cliffs. Sure, I would move there though!

1. Road to Hana – Maui, Hawaii, U.S.A

WOW – the views! At one spot, there was a very unique tiny town that sold the best banana bread and shave ice. The volcanic rocks and huge crashing waves there were amazing! Once in Hana, we noticed that it was getting late in the day and we had to turn right back around. I was kicking myself for not booking a room there to spend the night (they were full). Try to keep your windows open when you pass the eucalyptus trees – wow! Wow. WOW!

Honourable mentions to Beartooth Highway, the Canadian gold rush route through the Fraser Canyon, the drive from Vancouver to Whistler (Sea to Sky highway), and any driving we did in Italy and Hawaii – there wasn’t a dull scene anywhere!

 

Happy Birthday MOM!

For her 39th birthday (39th for how many years in a row?)

We discovered this random courtyard in Quebec City. So silent and spooky!

She’s a secret expert photographer!

Her first grizzly bear sighting ever. How appropriate – the famous Scarface in Yellowstone.

Hawaii trip:

Heleakala – thanks for the jacket, mom!

I don’t think she wants her pic up, so here’s a pic she took of me!

The green sand – the same colour as her shirt and her eyes

Nene!!!

Sunset in Lahaina, does it get any better?

 

 

 

 

 

Photo of the Week – The Hawaiian Flounder

I had a free pass to the Maui Ocean Center a few years ago, so I decided to pop by to see what was happening in the world of Hawaiian fish.

It was quite entertaining and colourful, that’s for sure!

Garden Eel - so strangely funny!

Another reason for going there was to learn a bit more about the sea life I might encounter when I was set to go snorkeling the next day.

I really loved the garden eels, but also this little flounder seemed quite cool as well!

Aside from these quirky little guys, the hammerhead shark – my all-time favorite shark was the ultimate spot. They were all over the place! Just glad I didn’t bump into them while snorkeling.

Not The Little Mermaid styles - that's for sure!

Photo of the Day – Volcano

A few cinder cone volcanoes anyone?

Welcome to Hawaii! I took a course on the big island a few summers ago (c/o my school – thanks!) and learned about the geoscience behind those gorgeous little islands.

This was taken when I first was given my digital SLR camera from my father. I had no idea how to use it (and am still learning)*, but I knew it took a great photo!

*note to self – must work on depth of field and colour balance

Atop Heleakala National Park, Hawaii

Photograph of the Day – Hawaii

Lahaina, Maui, what a spectacular view. I was lucky enough to be able to gaze at this backdrop every morning, while enjoying a nice cup of Kona coffee. What a way to feel relaxed!

Lahaina on the beach

 

Photo of the Day – Black sand puppy

This photograph was taken in Hawaii in the summer of 2009, when I was taking a strenuous, difficult, slave-esque type course on the big island. Seriously, trekking through the gorgeous backdrop of Hawaii while studying the geoscience behind the islands was just so, so terrible….

When visiting a black sand beach (on Maui), I came across this dog, just enjoying the sun, surf and snacks.

Maui