“Only 4x4’s can go up there!, He warned. “You have to fill up before ascending… so many people from the mainland run out of gas!” And “There’s cars stuck on the mauna from being inexperienced and flipping!”, were also common replies from locals of the Big Island in Hawaii to me as I excitedly told them my plans to make it to the Mauna. Feeling a little apprehensive, but confident in my souls calling to the Mauna (or volcano in Hawaiian), so I wasn’t allowing my psyche to be affected by it. When your soul calls to you deeply, you have to listen… and that’s exactly what I did. I understand the dangers, but I trust in my intuition and souls ability to lead me the exact places I need to go, to grow.
Excitedly nervous as I begun the journey upward, a full tank of course, and everything I needed for the day. (Or so I thought) As I began to drive, the scenery started to change. Starting with bright colored tropical flowers, huge banyan trees, foliage and greenery climbing up every wall of the Volcanos highway. Changing slowly by beginning to see more of the slate wall peeking through, less vibrancy throughout the variations of color and more subtle tones to accompany the jungle vibes. Now deep greens, grays, brown and purple with ancient, intense trees to accompany your already aseptically pleasing surroundings. Feelings as if I’m apart of the jungle, I see the sun peaking over the surroundings as I begin to see less but more open fields with bright yellows, oranges, browns. The air is colder now, I can sense the change in atmosphere. I begin to see in the distance fog come over the hills. The huge volcano walls cut out for the highway towering over me, reminding me how infinately small we are in this vast world of adventure. As I continued to ascend I was shook hands with the thickest fog I've ever driven through...Or so I thought.
After 2 hours of driving upwards, my GPS finally cued me to turn right… my anxiety was on full blast. The thoughts racing through my mind, “You can’t go up to the mauna without the 4x4… I must have went too far, I said psyching myself out”, “You SHOULD HAVE LISTENED, I heard echoed throughout my head”, and “TURN BACK BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE,”! Fear taking over at this point-completely blurring my vision at this point. Between blurry fears and straining to see past the even thicker fog I drive through a narrow, vertical, vertiginous road that is reminding me of driving up a wall. The road continued to taper as the fog thickened, my toes on the peddle, heel lifted, knee trembling, lip anxiously bitten down on…. There’s no turning back now. The road swiftly turns to the left while my fight or flight kicks on, “this is it,” I hear echoing throughout my brain, no turning back now. I remember the warnings echoing loud now even more curious if I should have listened… The road is going up straight, STILL...after 20 forking minutes, “ I MUST HAVE MISSED THE SIGN… I fearfully convinced myself. Continuing to ascend, the fog so thick theres no chance of seeing the road ahead...scared shitless at this point, I quiver in fear as I realize THERE’S NO TURNING BACK. I suddenly see a shape through the thickness only to realize a 4x4 must have gotten scared and pulled over to wait for the fog to disperse. I can barely breathe now, questioning my motives to experience this, I turn to the goddess of Hawaii, Pele, for guidance. “Pele, Please Help me. Keep me safe, allow me to know I’m Safe. Thank you. I love you.”, As I turned the music up in that moment, the song changed… “I will go to the volcano, melt my hear in Mauna Kea SNOW…” Medicine for the peoples lyrics were describing my EXACT MOMENT in time on the Mauna Kea adventure to my highest self. I couldn’t believe it as a wave of reassurance washed over me as I realized how held by the universe I truly was. I was and always will be protected all I have to do is ask.
Finally, I start to see signs for the Visitors Center, realizing I infact HADN’T gone too far without the proper vehicle, I exhaled for the first time that hour. I came up to the brown triangle building on the right, with the activists tent on the left, protesting the desecration of the sacred Hawaiian Mauna. Still nervous from my near panic attack, I feel called to walk up to the white tent where Keoni was, he sensed my nervous energy and approached me with a warm energy. “I need a hug!”, Were the first words I could stammer out of my mouth as I brought myself to find comfort in his grounding energy. “Im from Ohio, and I never realized how fucking flat it was!” He laughed and said all was well, he understood. As I continued to calm he turned me around and for the first time I saw the incredible sight. That thick fog, infact wasn’t fog at all but clouds! I was driving so high, I was driving THROUGH CLOUDS…. Unreal. He pointed to the left, to a Red volcano form, and educated me on Mauna Loa’s flowing lava, and how you could see the deep red from where we were standing on her sister volcano, Mauna Kea. Ready to embrace this entire experience now, I realize, that this this what I needed all along to grow. I didn't know it then but I was going to spend the night up there on the Mauna with the activists and it was going to profoundly change the way I travel.