Kilauea, Hawaii

Thursday, October 31, 1929

For once my dog sense overcame my fool Missouri Mule stubborn nonsense. At three I took my map and walked up to a Japanese temple on the hill to study it under the light—then came down to sleep again, kicking myself for changing my mind, if any. I figured I could make it around the island all right and by riding a half night Wednesday have time for the volcanoes at Kilaeua. But there were two 4,000-foot climbs and perhaps 40 miles of terrible road to be negotiated let along endless hills and the road the recent earthquakes have torn up. Also, can’t take a chance of missing the Sunday boat to Honolulu as it might mean missing the Ethan Allan. All in all, the round-the-island trip wasn’t worth the effort, not chance in this case. So at dawn I proceeded to wear myself down on the return to Hilo. Did very well and arrived at Hilo, after 6 hours and a 9-mile lift on a truck, properly exhausted. Before lunch I kidded myself into going a mile uphill to Rainbow Falls on the edge of town.

At 2:30 PM I completed my downfall by starting out for Kilauea, 31 miles from Hilo but 4,000 ft. above sea level and all uphill. A merciless sun did all but kill me as I walked up a perfect highway between fields of cane. This is undoubtedly the hardest day I have yet seen and now I can truthfully say I know what complete exhaustion is. Dragging on slowly mile after mile, walking because it was too steep to ride, or because I didn’t have enough strength to peddle—the concrete road winding like a ribbon through never-ending cane fields—always up, discouragingly so. Soaking  wet, dry, sticky throat with water far apart. By five the old mileposts were going by disgustingly slow and by six or after I didn’t give a darn.

The last nine miles the road goes through a beautiful forest of ferns, etc. but it came too late for it was already pitch dark and no need for shelter.

At this point, 7 miles from Kilauea, the Good Samaritan enters the tragedy, mounted on an ancient one-lunged Flivver. In the form of a kindly, elderly lady from Mt. View (down the road a way), learning to drive, she stopped and asked me to ride up the rest of the way. Of course I refused—in fact nearly caved the side of the chariot in in my haste to get aboard.

Thus did I arrive at the Volcano House in good time—a good specimen of a bum, dirty, bearded, hair on end, clothes filthy and torn. Must have been my sex appeal that got me inside the door. The summer camp was closed! and I didn’t bother about asking prices ($9 a room). Wanted to sleep out but it was blamed cold, I was still soaked and the dew is heavy. So I went a mile down the road to the military camp where I asked Capt. Tom (?)(Thom) to put me up. He, being a very fine man and well known and liked on the island, did so—in a little bungalow for guests. My home is way out—two rooms and a bath (theoretically), 4 beds, 3 chairs, a table, bureau, 5 lights, 2 rugs, 5 windows with curtains, a roof, and a porch overlooking Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea—a minute walk to the edge of Kilauea Volcano.

For food, I had my choice of eating in the officers’ mess at $1.25 a day or in “the mess“—truly a mess—at 50¢ a day. With an eye to quantity and economy I chose “the mess”.

Now try to keep me away from that bed any longer!!!

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