Apparently 2012 was a big travel year for me. Here’s a favorite photo from a trip in November of that year when my wife and I spent time in Borrego Springs in the middle of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (part of the Sonoran desert). Nearby is a big collection of massive metal sculptures created by artist Ricardo Breceda. This one is the Sea Serpent, but there are many more. Head out to southern California to see the installations for yourself. Beautiful spot. Just visit in the cooler months!
As an earth science nerd, I was excited to see Hawaii in early 2011. The wife and I skipped over Honolulu and the popular beaches and made a bee-line to the Big Island, where Kilauea had been erupting since 1983 and you could see some of the newest land on the planet. Given the recent movement of magma downslope to the Leilani Estates area, I’ve been transfixed — half excited, half horrified — by daily video updates showing the ah-ah pushing down neighborhood streets and vents shooting lava into the air with the roar of a sulfur dioxide jet engine.
This photo is from a quieter time when the lava lake was snuggled deep inside a small crater at the bottom of the much larger Hale Ma’uma’u crater at Kilauea’s summit. While staying nearby in Volcano, Hawaii we ventured out to the visitor center at night, perched on the edge of the crater, and saw the distant, eerie glow of the steam and ash drifting up from the liquid rocks.
To help residents affected by the lava movement into the Puna district, check out the options listed in this article from Hawaii local TV station KHON.
And stay on top of all the Kilauea earth science news from the USGS here.
Six years ago my wife and I were in Oregon on vacation, exploring for fun and figuring out where we might like to move if we headed south from Alaska. We made it up to Crater Lake on May 5, 2012 to enjoy the sunshine, deep alpine snow, and the iconic views. We didn’t end up moving to Oregon (we really liked the Bend area) — we ended up in another “O” state instead. But maybe someday.