Hawaii, United States

The Ground is Lava! – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Do you remember the childhood game where we pretended the floor was lava? Of course you do; it was the best! Jumping from the coffee table to the couch, trying your best not to fall into the “fiery pit” below. Have today’s kids even heard of this game? Probably not. In our digitally dominated world, this game may be obsolete. Nonetheless, it was the inspiration for the following photos. Because in the Kīlauea Caldera, the ground is actually lava!

But in order to get down to the Kīlauea Caldera, we first had to hike the Halema‘uma‘u Trail. The trail is about 0.8 miles downhill through lush rainforest. (Keep in mind the return hike will be all uphill!)

Photo by NPS

When the trail ends and you enter the caldera, it’s otherworldly. Nothing but a vast expanse of black lava rock and you are actually standing in the caldera of a very active volcano. So active in fact, Kīlauea ranks among the world’s most active volcanoes and may even top the list. Since 1952, Kīlauea has erupted 34 times. Coincidentally, when we first visited Hawai’i in 2018, Kīlauea was actively erupting and the national park was closed to visitors.

If you don’t have time for the hike, you can also view the caldera from above. Crater Rim Drive offers observation points right off the road where you can view the volcano’s broad, shallow depression measuring nearly 3 miles long and 2 miles wide.

Note: Before you visit, make sure to check the NPS website for updates on current closures. Several parts of the park were still closed during our most recent visit.

Destinations, Turkey

The Land of Fairy Chimneys



Cappadocia is a region in central Turkey known for its unique landscape. In all of my travels, I have never seen anything else quite like it! The landscape is the result of volcanic activity millions of years ago and erosion. Tuff (sometimes called tufa) is a rock made from consolidated volcanic ash and it can be found throughout the Cappadocia region. Tuff is a soft rock making it very susceptible to erosion. Over the course of millions of years the tuff has eroded into spectacular pillars that are commonly referred to as fairy chimneys.






This soft rock is also very easy to carve. The people of this region put the rock to good use and they carved out houses, churches and monasteries. The winters in this region could be very harsh, but the people learned that when their homes were carved into the rock they were well insulated against the elements and automatically maintained the perfect room temperature.




The Göreme Open Air Museum is one of the most popular tourist sites in Cappadocia. The complex contains more than 30 churches carved into the rock dating back to the 9th century. Many of the churches had beautiful frescoes painted inside, but there were photography restrictions so I wasn’t able to take pictures of most of them.








Interesting Fact: The cubby holes in the photo below are not places to store your shoes before entering your rock house. They are actually places for pigeons to roost. Apparently pigeon poop is the best fertilizer (or so I am told) so they intentionally carved out these spaces for the birds so they could collect “their offerings.”