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 10 USA

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I just saw an article on the site touropia promoting the top ten tourists attractions in the USA and was curious what my “score” would be for attractions visited.

Here’s the list:

10. The White House. Ok, haven’t seen it, but I am sure I will some day…

9. Denali National Park. I dream about going there, does that count? It might actually be in the works for next summer. A trip starting in Alaska, through Alberta, all the way down to Grand Teton National Park.

8. Las Vegas Strip. Check! It was quite spectacular, so lively and colourful.

7. The Florida Keys. Soon I bet. I have been to Florida about 9 or 10 times, but never further south than Naples.

6. Kilauea. CHECK! Loveeee love loveeeed it! I took a geoscience course in Hawaii a few years ago and studied the volcano in detail.

5. Niagara Falls. Check! I live about 1.5 hours away from them and have been there countless times, although mostly on the Canadian side of the border.

4. Golden Gate Bridge. Check! Loved San Francisco and was able to walk across the bridge on a nice sunny/windy day. What fun!

3. Yellowstone. CHECK! Just got back about a month and a half ago. Sigh….can I go back right now?

2. Manhattan. Check! I’m on a roll now. New York is one of my favorite cities, and I cannot wait to go back on a long weekend to make friends with the city again.

1. Grand Canyon. Not yet. Does the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone count? I’ve heard it’s just as spectacular. Maybe I will have to include a visit to the canyon next summer…

Six out of ten, not good enough! Time for me to go ‘splorin!