We Were Compelled To
Ride For Twenty-Three Miles In Single File, Owing To The Extreme
Narrowness Of The Lava Track, Which Has Been Literally Hammered Down
In Some Places To Make It Passable Even For Shod Horses.
We were a
party of four, and a very fat policeman on a very fat horse brought
up the rear.
At some distance from Hilo there is a glorious burst of tropical
forest, and then the track passes into green grass dotted over with
clumps of the pandanus and the beautiful eugenia. In that hot dry
district the fruit was already ripe, and we quenched our thirst with
it. The "native apple," as it is called, is of such a brilliant
crimson colour as to be hardly less beautiful than the flowers. The
rind is very thin, and the inside is white, juicy, and very slightly
acidulated. We were always near the sea, and the surf kept bursting
up behind the trees in great snowy drifts, and every opening gave us
a glimpse of deep blue water. The coast the whole way is composed
of great blocks of very hard black lava, more or less elevated, upon
which the surges break in perpetual thunder.
Suddenly the verdure ceased, and we emerged upon a hideous scene,
one of the many lava flows from Kilauea, an irregular branching
stream, about a mile broad. It is suggestive of fearful work on the
part of nature, for here the volcano has not created but destroyed.
The black tumbled sea mocked the bright sunshine, all tossed,
jagged, spiked, twirled, thrown heap on heap, broken, rifted,
upheaved in great masses, burrowing in ravines of its own making,
full of broken bubble caves, and torn by a-a streams.
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