The Big Island On Foot

The Hawaii of centuries long past emerges from the landscapes crossed by its ancient trails

The past presses close to the surface on the island of Hawaii, the southernmost in the archipelago, the one they call the Big Island. In 1985, during the first of what would be many trips to this massive volcanic isle, I toured its wild northern coast in a tiny bubble of a helicopter. On what seemed a whim, but probably had to do with the calm clarity of the day, the pilot decided to swing out to sea and fly alongside the pali, a stretch of vertical cliffs that rise 2,000 feet above the surf.Read more »

Katmai

Sixty-eight years before Mount St. Helens blew, Alaska’s Mount Katmai erupted—and nearly brought on a second ice age

On August 26, 1883, Krakatoa, a small island between Java and Sumatra in western Indonesia, erupted with a violence perhaps unprecedented in geological history. Nearly five cubic miles of material were blown into the atmosphere. A 120-foot tidal wave swept the coasts of nearby islands, destroying 295 villages and drowning 36,000 people.Read more »