Lessons Learned from 2 Years with a Pentax Digital Camera

This is what you can do with a Pentax DSLR.

Just before my trip to New Zealand (which was so awesome that I still can’t shut up about it two years later), I got a Pentax K-100 Super camera. It was my first digital SLR, and I learned tons from toting it on my misadventures.

And it’s given me some insight about the new entry-level Pentax, the K-x. Here’s my in-depth look at my camera and what it’s taught me to expect from the K-x.

Phoenix Councilman Supplies Info About Residents to Special-Interest Group

Sal DiCiccio, a member of the Phoenix city council, has convinced me of something – that he’s funnelling information about residents to an outside organization to further his political agenda. Here’s how he did it:

Back in August, something strange popped into my e-mail box: a newsletter from Councilman DiCiccio.

I never signed up for it. I don’t even live in his district. I chalked it up as an anomaly until I got a newsletter from nofee2hikeaz.com a few days later. I also didn’t sign up for its newsletter.

DiCiccio and nofee2hikeaz.com, it turns out, have a common goal – opposing the Phoenix Park Board plan to charge for parking at less than 20 percent of the city’s trailheads.

City Staff Members Look Into E-Mail Mystery

On Sept. 8, I decided to ask city officials about what was happening: I contacted David Urbinato, parks department spokesman. He passed my e-mail to Toni Maccarone, the city’s spokeswoman. Here’s what she wrote to me:

" -- we did quite a bit of research, and the answer that we came up with is what we thought.  We do not share our city news list with anyone.  We’re sorry, but we are not sure how you got on these other lists. When I asked Councilman DiCiccio’s Chief of Staff Hal DeKeyser about it, he said that you may have been added to the Councilman’s list in a number of different ways because they have a separate, outside list that they maintain, and they add people’s e-mails from a variety of different sources."

Maccarone suggested I talk to DeKeyser. I know him – he is a former Scottsdale Tribune editor. I joined the paper as a reporter just after DeKeyser was effectively exiled to the then even-more-bustling (if you count retirees in golf carts as bustling) West Valley. There, he served as publisher of a flock of chicken-dinner publications like the West Valley View.

I decided to let things unfold a bit before talking to him.

I’m pretty sure DiCiccio had access to my information since I signed up for the phoenixnews e-newsletter. I registered using a personal address, not the one posted here at WanderingJustin.com.

Slip-Up Reveals the Connection

On Sept. 17, I got the break I hoped for: I received a newsletter from both DiCiccio and nofee2hikeaz.com – and the content was exactly the same: every subject line, every sentence, every idea. Identical.

To me, this is a major sign – likely outright proof – that Diciccio or someone working for him provided my e-mail information to nofee2hikeaz.com.

Both parties were stupid, arrogant or a radioactive combination of both.

Local Media is Watching

A reporter at The Arizona Republic also confirmed that the paper is curious about ties between DiCiccio and nofee2hikeaz.com. The reporter said interview requests for the website were not answered – and that DeKeyser denied any ties to the organization. Someone is lying. And the reporter has no motive.

Since the curiously similar e-mail blasts, I’ve continued getting DiCiccio’s Glenn Beck-ish squawking for the entertainment value. In his alternate reality, he is the only guy looking out for the little people of the impovershed Arcadia and Ahwatukee neighborhoods (someone has to make sure families there can afford the payments on their fleet of SUVs). In that alternate reality, it’s also OK to sign people up for e-mail lists against their will and to funnel their information to outside organizations that are not accountable or even willing to be interviewed by media.

It doesn’t seem the city has a policy governing how it handles residents’ e-mail addresses. So DiCiccio will probably escape censure from city officials. But I’m hoping he’ll answer for this and every other act of ethical dyslexia at the ballot box.

So what do you think? Does it look like DiCiccio or one of his staff members provided e-mail to addresses to nofee2hikeaz.com? If so, do you find that dirty pool?

3 Bizarre Buildings Still Stand Tall in Phoenix

Capstone Cathedral Phoenix
The Capstone Cathedral is one of the most odd and distinct buildings in the Phoenix area.

3 Bizarre Buildings in Phoenix, Ariz
Despite its short history, the Phoenix metro area has amassed some unusual architecture. Here are three of the best-known odd buildings you’ll find in the Valley of the Sun.
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Arizona Destinations for Aviation Geeks

Between airplane boneyards and museums, there's a lot for the aviation geeks in Arizona.

Four Air and Space Museums in Arizona
For a sparsely populated state, Arizona has a lot to offer when it comes to air and space museums. The Pima Air Museum is the best-known of the bunch, but there are others that are worth a visit. Here’s a look at them from north to south.
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Desert Museum is Worth a Drive to Tucson, Ariz.

Visitors to Phoenix probably don’t give enough credit to Tucson. That’s a mistake – the Tucson area has some great cultural attractions, and the outstanding Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is one you shouldn’t miss.

An owl readies for stardom at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum's Raptor Free Flight.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Shows Southwestern Wildlife, Plants & Geology
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson does a great job of showcasing the state’s flora, fauna and natural history. It’s also located in a very scenic piece of high desert terrain, so bring your camera.
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Fear – Another Reason America Doesn’t Travel

A few posts ago, I said that traveling to visit family is ruining the country and making us dumb. And it keeps us from seeing the rest of the world.

Now, I present another reason: As a nation, we’re a bunch of chickens. Fear rules us, and we’re happy to let it happen.

The “Internet Fear Monger” is Exhibit A in my latest prosecution.

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6 Things You Won’t Find in the Iceland Travel Guide

Iceland travel guide
From Reykjavik, Iceland (Photo credit: Helgi Halldórsson/Freddi)

It was nearly midnight as my wife and I strolled back to our guesthouse on Barugata in Reykjavik. The sky was still light, and the partying was just getting started since this was a Friday. Music was blaring out of the upstairs window of a house we were passing. Someone noticed us as we walked by.

"Hey!" he yelled, sticking his head out the window. "How do you like Iceland?"

I yelled back that we were having a great time.

And it was the truth. And part of the enjoyment came from noticing all the interesting quirks of Icelandic society. Here are a few random tidbits that give the place flavor. These are all things you won’t read in an Iceland travel guide.

    • Iceland loves trampolines – In every town, a really surprising percentage of the homes had trampolines. I would guess a good 25 percent, versus fewer than 1 percent for the U.S. It was actually rare for me to walk past five homes and not see at least one trampoline.
iceland travel guide
Iceland loves its trampolines. (via wikimedia)
  • Homebrewing is illegal – Well, you CAN brew your own beer or other alcohol in Iceland if its ABV is 2.25 percent or lower. And what would the point be? The government has a huge hand in the alcohol business. The consequences are pricey spirits, beer and wine. And the beer? Well, this is certainly no craft brew hotspot like Oregon. We ran across one brew that was outstanding – Lava, an imperial stout brewed by Brugghús. Enjoy it with a rich chocolately dessert for best effect. Anyway, it would be nice for Iceland to open the door to homebrewers.
  • Guesthouses go Rick and Lucy style – Every place we stayed at had twin beds. It was easy enough to push them together, but it was just kind of odd. Nowhere did I see this in an Iceland travel guide.
  • Signs of a literary society – There’s an old Viking proverb that says something like "It is better to go without shoes than without books." Iceland also cranks out a lot of books each year. Thus, you have a book-loving society. That’s why every hotel/hostel/guesthouse bed is flanked by reading lights. That’s refreshing – I can’t tell you how many times I try to talk about books with someone, and they say "I don’t have time to read." I’m pretty sure that could get an Icelander exiled.
  • Stirring the English pot – Icelanders are very good at speaking English. Many of their signs are in English. What’s amusing is the mix of British English and American English. For example, most signs refer to a bathroom as a Water Closet or WC in the U.K. fashion. On the other hand, it’s gasoline and not petrol.
  • Iceland puts its kids to work – We arrived in the summer, when kids weren’t at school. But they were busy, taking on work projects such as tending gardens in public areas. Putting kids to work is apparently encouraged; it’s more for giving the kids spending money. They standard of living is high enough in Iceland (economic crash or not) that their work isn’t really for the family to make ends meet.

 

 

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Hiking Destination: Iceland’s Landmannalaugar

Windy, steep, bleak. Things are starting to get rough.

Landmannalaugar isn’t so much a place. It’s more of a rip in the space-time continuum.

Consider its summer: It’s hard to tell 3 a.m. from 3 p.m. It can wrap you in the warmth of geothermal vents, chill you with wind, hose you down with rain – all in the span of 30 minutes. You can hike for hours without seeing a solitary living creature. It can even dispatch a lethal blizzard – yes, even in June.

Night doesn’t fall. The often-overcast skies will keep you in a permanent state of twilight. The terrain and scenery changes drastically from mile to mile. The colors of the rhyolite mountains will make you want to get your eyes checked.

In June of 2010, I arrived at Landmannalaugar with my wife. We read about it in guidebooks and blogs. Nothing even remotely prepared us for this place. Oh, we had the equipment we needed. But the scenery! You can look at these photos all you want, and you will still not believe your eyes when you get off the bus from Reykjavik.

There just is no other place like this.

Here’s what to expect on this amazing, one-of-a-kind, 12-kilometer trip from Landmannalauger to the Hrafntinnusker camp site.
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Update on Flying with MREs

Before leaving for Iceland, I was a bit worried about flying the military-issue Meals, Ready to Eat packs.

The answers I got from the Delta Airlines and the TSA were less than definitive – Icelandair was crystal-clear: They’re okay in checked luggage.

The good news is that I had no problems flying with my MRE packs. I went through security screening at three different airports (Phoenix Sky Harbor, JFK/New York and Keflavik International) and customs at two of them, and had nary an MRE-related problem (the monosyllabic and surly “instructions” of the wonderful Customs staff at JFK, however, was another story. Only one of that lot was even remotely pleasant.).

Based on my experience, you should have no problems if you put your MREs in your checked luggage and keep the packages sealed. Still, always check with your airline. Policies and regulations are always a moving target, and a terrorism-related panic du jour always seems to be around the corner waiting to monkeywrench travelers’ plans.

New Zealand for the Photographer

tongariro mount doom
A few hearty shrubs are the first appearance of non-human life near Blue Lake.

New Zealand for the Photographer
Travelers who love taking photos will come home from New Zealand with some of their best-ever images. Here are three places you shouldn’t miss if you want to take photos worthy of framing and hanging – and maybe even selling. Also included – a few basic gear tips.
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From nz2

Iceland’s Coffee Culture a Cure for the Common Starbucks

suffistinn
Sufistinn Kaffihus - tasty coffee, amazing desserts near Reykjavik, Iceland.

Three Great Coffeehouses in Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik, the capitol of Iceland, is absolutely bristling with inviting coffeehouses. Kaffitar, Cafe Rot and Sufistinn Kaffihus are three of its best.
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Eating Hákarl in Iceland

Fermented shark, hákarl, is an example of a cu...
Fermented shark, hákarl, is an example of a culinary tradition that has continued from the settlement of Iceland in the 9th century to this day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the reasons I went to Iceland was to try the country’s “delicacy” (just in case the quotes don’t make it clear enough, this is using the term very loosely) known as hákarl. This translates simply into “shark.” You pronounce it as “HOW-ker.”

But it’s more than that: It’s a shark that’s spent months decomposing underground to begin draining it of toxins. These toxins, according to National Geographic, act as antifreeze so it can live in cold waters around Iceland and Greenland. The curing process makes it safe for humans to eat. After being buried, it’s then exhumed, hung up for a few months, sliced and eaten raw.

I couldn’t wait to give it a go. Watch the video to see what happens, and be sure to read my conclusion at the bottom of this post.

 

Okay, it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. I’d eat hákarl before I’d eat gefilte fish, for sure. It’s far cooler. But after the video was shot, my wife looked pretty grossed out, and I half-expected her to abandon me in the south of Iceland if I didn’t dispose of the shark immediately.

So I carried the remained out into the streets looking for a trash can. The two bins I found appeared to be for recycling only. Then I saw a large red bin, which usually means a big truck comes, picks it up and dumps the contents into its garbage-holding area. So I flung the bag up over the walls.

Or so I thought.

The “trash bin” was a storage shed, and it was too big for me to get on top and recover the bag from its roof. So some grocery store storage shed now has a bag of hákarl aging on top of it. Oof. Sorry to my friends in Iceland. I promise I was trying to do the right thing!

 

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Stjarnan FC Soccer Fans the Highlight of First Day in Iceland

stjarnan FC fans
Stjarnan FC fans bring the noise and show the Fram fans how it's done.

Want to make friends in a foreign country? All you need to do is embrace its sports, and you’re well on your way. I first learned this in Costa Rica when I became a Saprisista. And I continued the tradition during my latest trip. Hours after touching down at Keflavik International Airport in Iceland, I wound up next to a wild bunch of fans supporting Stjarnan F.C. (pronounce it as “startna,” pretty much), a team in the Úrvalsdeild (Icelandic premier league).

My wife and I had just introduced ourselves to another Icelandic tradition – lounging around in hot tubs. Afterward, we were walking along when I noticed a group of people outside a stadium.

Since there was a red-bearded guy wearing blue and white facepaint, I figured he would be the one to ask “Hey, what’s going on here?” So I did, and soon had the info that there was a Monday night match about to start. And he offered a free ticket, on one condition: “You must support Stjarnan!”

Who am I to argue with a bearded, face-painted dude wielding a 6-foot-tall staff topped with a skull? So support Stjarnan we did! I bought a second ticket for Sarah, and into the stadium we went.

As it turns out, Stjarnan only got promoted to the top division a few years ago. At gametime, they were ranked in the middle of the league table. Meanwhile, their opponents (and the hometeam … aiiiy!), Fram, were ranked first. But the Stjarnan fans provided most of the spirit on display in the mostly empty stadium, which is called Laugardalsvöllur. Organized cheers and songs from the Stjarnan faithful largely drowned out the Fram supporters, even in their own 10,000-seat grounds!

Even going down two goals did little to silence them. And they added more noise when a Fram player was sent off late in the game, allowing Stjarna to score a goal. They pressed for the equalizer as the clock ticked, but weren’t able to level the scoreline.

Still, I adopted Stjarnan as my Icelandic team. I searched all over the city on a wild goose chase for a Stjarnan shirt. Each store seemed to refer me to a different place, but I was completely out of luck. I wound up with an Icelandic national team shirt instead, but I still will try to find some way to get a Stjarnan shirt.

One thing that surprised me is that Icelanders are really into soccer, but they disdain their own premier league clubs, unfortunately. Instead, most seem to follow English teams – especially Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United.

I’ll admit there’s a gulf in quality – but I think everyone should show some pride for their hometown sports clubs. It doesn’t matter if they’re in the best league in the world, or the worst: Your home is your home, and you have to support the local teams! One thing I did really like is that the rivalry between fans was really friendly. They just wanted to cheer on their teams, not battle each other (unlike Saprissa and Alajuela down in Costa Rica, for instance).

Here’s a video – if you know any of these characters, pass it along to them and tell me who they are. I’d like to hear from any Stjarna fans. Your team has a fan here in the U.S.!

Life Without the Sunset – Iceland in Summer

I have not seen the sun set since I left Arizona on Saturday. Seriously, 2 a.m. and 2 p.m. look exactly the same. You definitely keep your energy level up that way, but it is discombobulating.

There will be lots of photos when I return, and some great tips and tales. But for now, just imagine sleeping when it is always late afternoon.

6 Impressions of Boston – Plus 3 Great Restaurants

Boston has a great skyline, tasty food and very cool people. It'll shortchange you in the espresso department, though.
Boston has a great skyline, tasty food and very cool people. It'll shortchange you in the espresso department, though.

Generally, I avoid the eastern United States. It’s just not my sort of place. Up north, it’s cold. Down south, it’s humid and flat.

But since my sister-in-law is studying law at Boston University, the wife decided it was time to visit her and maybe see some Boston landmarks. Boston intrigued me. I’d never been there, and it has a lot of history. I also have some Internet buddies living there. So I could think of worse places to go. We wound up staying at a HoJo near Fenway Park. It was grossly overpriced, as were all of the hotels I found. But it was a nice location near Berklee College of Music, BU, Harvard and even MIT. And near this great running path near the Chahls* River.

Here are six things that really stick out about Boston, plus three awesome restaurants and the best-ever pop culture reference to Beantown. As you’ll see, I really liked Boston overall with one big quibble.

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5 Places to See the Northern Lights

aurora
The Northern Lights. Photo courtesy of the US DoD.

I’ve just made a decision: I need to see the Northern Lights. You know … the aurora borealis. Can you imagine how cool it must be to see that dark sky above you light up with multicolored swirls of electrons? The jury is still out and whether you can actually hear the aurora; it occurs about 60 miles into the sky, where the air is very thin for the passage of sound waves. But scientists still don’t discount the possibility that there might be some aural aspect to the aurora.

So here’s the downside: It’s best to see them in winter at high altitudes. And it’s gotta be dark out. That means that, if I want to see it, I’ll have to be fully prepared to freeze my goolies off. So, then, where I should I go to get a glimpse of the lights?

Here are some good candidates:

Jukkasjarvi, Sweden – It’s far north. It’s so secluded that you have to take a dogsled to reach it from Kiruna, the nearest city. It’s also home to the ICEHOTEL. That adds up to a safe bet to check out some serious aurora viewing. And maybe I could schedule a visit when Hammerfall is in action.

Oulu, Finland – The Northern Lights are such an attraction in Oulu that many hotels offer wake-up calls when they’re active. It’s not quite as secluded as some places, offering a lively night scene and lots of museums. Apparently, the light pollution isn’t enough to put a damper on the displays. And there are lots of Finns online boasting about how much Oulu rocks.

Iceland – This island nation is right in the circular path that defines the aurora’s favorite stomping grounds. Combine that with a sparse population, and you have good odds of seeing an unforgettable light show. When you’re not tripping out to the lights, the daytime offers geysers and volcanoes. It’s also easy to get to from the west, with Icelandair offering flights from Seattle.

Tromso, NorwayUS Airways is running some really good specials for flights to Norway. From Phoenix, the base price is something like $760. That’s a good incentive. Tromso also has a good reputation as a place with clear skies and minimal light pollution (only 50,000 people live there). Apparently, there are mountaintop viewing areas near the city, too. Oh, and there’s cross-country and alpine skiing!

Fairbanks, Alaska – Sure, you can see ’em in Juneau or Anchorage. But why not go a little further for what’s considered among the state’s better displays? The local hotels also offer packages for travelers who want to boost the odds of getting an awesome lightshow.

Glow Worm Poop Mystery – SOLVED!

This is pretty funny … someone came to my blog today to find out whether glow worm poop glows. [Since I wrote this, few days have passed when a keyword search of “glow worm poop” hasn’t brought somewhere here. What a thing to be known for!]

The Truth About Glow Worm Poop

The answer is no – that’s because they don’t poop. The glow that they make is their form of excretion. But rather than just launching solid or liquid waste, the glow worm converts the leftover matter into light that’s used to attract its prey. The glow worm dangles silky threads from their spots in their home caves. Insects see this and thinks they’re seeing stars, and fly toward the light. They get caught in the threads. Then the worm eats them, absorb the nutrients, turns the excess matter into light and begins the cycle again.

Really, that’s pretty fabulous. It takes stuff in, but leaves nothing but heat and light behind. That’s an incredible bit of evolution. And certainly, it has to be the envy of every mechanical engineer. That means no glow worm poop … at least not in the usual way we think of droppings.

glow worm poop
The glow worm webs … revealed!

If you’re interested in seeing glow worms, there are a number of places in the world to do so. Of course, I’m pretty partial to Waitomo, New Zealand. Here are a few related posts:

Rappelling into the Dark

7 Hotels in New Zealand

Rap, Raft & Rock

Beyond the Glow Worm Caves

There’s not a lot else going on in Waitomo, but it is one of the more relaxing places I’ve ever been. Go there to get away from it all … and to enjoy some quality caving. If you look at the hotels story above, you’ll also find out about Woodlyn Park, where you can stay in everything from a converted cargo plan to a hand-built Hobbit Hole. So that’s another good reason to pick Waitomo as the place to find your glow worm adventure.

 

48 Hours in Flagstaff

Downtown Flagstaff with San Francisco Peaks in Background - Photographer unknown
Downtown Flagstaff with San Francisco Peaks in Background - Photographer unknown

Flagstaff has saved the sanity of many people from central Arizona. We know that, even on the hottest, most brain-baking weekends, respite is just two hours away up the I-17. That means you can squeeze relief from triple-digit temperatures into just one weekend.

Here are some tips for desert dwellers looking to get the most out of 48 hours. Out-of-state visitors can also use this to get their plans started.

Where to Stay:

Flagstaff has a little something for everyone when it comes to accommodations. Even the cheap hotels are pricier than they should be, but we’ll just have to grin and bear that. There are enough decent hotels that you shouldn’t have trouble finding a place. In fact, I’m not even going to name any specific hotels.

Here’s what I’ll do instead: I’ll tell you to mind the railroad tracks. The closer you are to them, the more you will hear train whistles and the roar of enormous diesel locomotives. Let the tracks be your guide. Unfortunately, some of the more fun places are walking distance from the tracks, too.

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My Best Zorbing Tips for Beginners

Sarah shakes off her Zorbing legs.
Sarah shakes off her Zorbing legs.

I’m kind of surprised by something: People are finding WanderingJustin.com while searching for Zorbing tips for beginners. I’m not surprised because people are looking here for Zorbing info, but about tips for beginners.

Alright, people … Zorbing is not exactly a skill. It’s not like skiing. There are no double black-diamond Zorbing hills (though that would be awesome). You don’t need a finely tuned sense of balance, powerful quads and awesome spatial awareness. Really, if you can fit in the hole, you can Zorb just as well your first time as any veteran can.

But you seem to want tips, so I’m gonna give ’em to ya:

1. Book a flight to New Zealand. This is where Zorbing was born, and thus is the ultimate place to Zorb. When you book, I recommend Air New Zealand since Qantas, unfortunately, seems to be experiencing a spiral into management wankery (the cabin staff and crews are still great, though). I’m hoping V Australia decides to start flying to New Zealand from the States, too.

2. Get a taxi from the airport to your hotel. Parnell is a nice neighborhood with good nightlife, decent hotels and a nice vibe. It’s also not far from bus and rail stations.

3. After spending a night in Auckland, take a bus to Rotorua. That’ll give you a chance to savor the countryside. Another option is to rent a Wicked Camper, if that’s more your bag. This also allows you to skip Step 4 and go directly to 5 .. along with flying your Freak Flag a bit!

4. When you get to Rotorua, rent a car.

5. Drive said car to The Agrodome. Sign yourself up for the Zydro, and make sure you have a friend -or mate, rather … when in Kiwiland, say as they Kiwis say, I guess- videotaping your roll down the hill.

6. Exit. Laugh. Repeat.

Congratulations. You are now an Olympic-caliber Zorbonaut.

Boil and Bubble at Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland, New Zealand

The Champagne Pool
The Champagne Pool

If an army of Parrotheads and Grateful Dead fans ever invades New Zealand, I know exactly what strategy to take to stop the assault: The New Zealand forces would need to establish its positition and fall back, leading the unsuspecting invaders to the Mud Pool at Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland south of Rotorua.

There, the marching Parrotheads and Dead Heads would come to a complete standstill. They would be rendered immobile by a combination of cannabis, the crazy colors and the pits of bubbling, boiling mud.

A long shot of Waiotapu
A long shot of Waiotapu

Look, I’m not exactly proud to admit this: I could’ve spent the entire day at the mud pit, watching as volcanic gas built up pressure, created huge bubbles, and then exploded, spewing the smell of sulfur and rancid baked beans through the air. It smelled like I was living with my dad again!

Here’s the thing – this part of the north island has a lot of active volcanic features. And here at Waiotapu, they really force their way to the surface. It’s a fascinating landscape of mud pits, boiling ponds, sulfur pits and other weird crap that I can’t even begin to describe.

So what’s so cool about watching mud boil and splash all over? Well, if you’re from a place as extensively paved as Phoenix, it’s wonderful to get a reminder that the earth is very much still alive. That there’s change. And that, for all our technology and influence on the world, humans are just a small part of the whole. And maybe not even the main part of it all.

I forget the name of this feature - I think "Incredible Hulk's Urinal" has a ring to it, though.
I forget the name of this feature - I think "Incredible Hulk's Urinal" has a ring to it, though.

Volcanism shaped both islands, and it’s exciting to think of the awesome power marshalling below your feet as you walk on seemingly solid ground. Look around you at Waiotapu and near Rotorua: You’ll see plumes of white steam venting from the earth randomly. The Kiwis are far-sighted enough to capture some for clean, inexpensive power. But they’re also smart enough to leave it accessible for people to see. It really did something for me to be able to look closely at this and see the living earth.

imgp1240
Exploding mud!

It made me feel like the world is really new. In fact, I thought of a quote from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as Dr. Marcus leads Admiral Kirk into the Genesis Cave: “Let me show you something that will make you feel young, as when the world was new.”

Be sure to check the super-sweet videos below – boiling mud in live action, and wind whipping steam off the Silica Flats. Awesome!