At night my dad and I drove through rural Hilo, to the very end of the highway. Lava from years prior cut it off, and so it curved into a lot for people visiting the viewpoint to park. We parked in the middle of a highway.
It was an easy but cumbersome hike over flat, black, scabbed over earth. They had the easiest path marked with orange reflectors so that you wouldn’t veer from it (there was no vegetation of course). Our flashlight sucked, so there was the odd trip up, but otherwise not so difficult. When we got to the end, there were maybe 15-20 people there for show like we were. I probably heard five different languages that I didn’t understand, but the tone was the same amongst everyone. Filled with wonder.
The area was about a mile away from where the lava was falling into the water. You had to go at night to see it, because during the day all you could see was steam. In the dark it was totally different. The rainclouds and vog blocked out any light from the sky. You could see a thin trail of red snaking, shimmered, dotting the low incline from Kilauea. Where the lava met the ocean, there was a massive plume of steam that diffused the flashes of red behind its soft veil. It looked almost like a thunderstorm. Every so often there would be a splash of molten earth that broke through the steam, so you could see the lava unobstructed and neon orange for a split second before it fell back into the ocean.
It was an indescribable feeling, sitting in the middle of the Pacific ocean, watching the planet grow. One of those moments that causes a major change in perspective of your size in the world. I’d love to see this again, but since then (only two years ago) the lava has moved away and underground. So chances are slim.