Monday, December 29, 2014

Travel Tuesday - Mauna Loa Eruption

Oops...I forgot to note the page..darn it!
Unless you've been avoiding the news (it's OK...I do it sometimes too) you've probably heard that the Mauna Loa volcano on the "Big Island" of Hawaii has been active and is slowly showing everyone in its path who wins in a fight of chicken with a lava flow (hint...the volcano wins).

So as I was preparing for my trip home to Wisconsin for the holidays I saw that I had previously printed a newspaper article relating the story of a previous eruption of Mauna Loa. This one was reported in the Fond du Lac Daily Reporter back in 1926. The story was told by a Soldier from Wisconsin that witnessed it.

Corporal Buch is not my ancestor, but I decided to share it on a Travel Tuesday because (heck) he's someone's ancestor and traveling to Hawaii is ├╝ber-cool. Having been stationed in Hawaii for three years, getting married there and having my first child there makes it a place very dear to my heart. I recognized the names of the places CPL Buch mentioned in his letters. I remember the Pali. I remember how breathtaking it all is. I'd love to go back there someday.

Pele is making herself heard again in late 2014/early 2015 so I thought this was appropriate to share. The copy is not the best so there were a few words that were difficult to make out. I put what I believed was correct in parenthesis.

"Eruption of Mauna Loa, Hawaiian Volcano, Seen By Fond du Lac Youth

Corporal Paul Buch Describes Lava Flow In Letters to His Parents.

Corporal Paul A. Buch, a member of the coast artillery of the United States army, stationed at Ft. Ruger, Hawaii, in a recent letter to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. S. J. Buch, 292 Bannister street, describes the recent eruption of the volcano Mauna Loa at Hilo, an Island of the Hawaiian group.

'The veritable river of fire flowed down the mountain side, covering a huge area and destroying everything in its wake - cane fields, grazing lands, towns, hamlets and all - until the river itself was destroyed when it flowed into the sea and a huge cloud of steam arose as a last reminder of its terrible course,' wrote Corporal Buch.

'Ranches, woods and fruit fields were destroyed and the daily papers are filled with pictures which are very interesting. Sometimes I imagine old Diamond head, across from us, becoming active again, after its thousands of estimated years of inactivity; or old Punch Bowl in the heart of Honolulu erupting again.

'As we all know the Hawaiian Islands are of volcanic origin, and science claims that the very islands were thrown up from the sea bottom by huge craters at the earth's core, and all natural formations over here verify the same. It is rumored that some day the ped(??????) on which the islands are based will shatter and the Hawaiians will sink back into the sea from whence they came.'

Corporal Buch has written many other interesting letters describing the beauties of Oahu. In particular he described the famous Nuuanu Pali, on the island on which he is quartered.

'The Pali is famous on account of its being the narrow pass in the mountains where King Kamehameha, then in his prime, opposed and defeated some other huge army which had come over from some other island to subdue the king and his faithful Hawaiian soldiers,' says Corporal Buch. 'It was at this pass that the king and his handful of soldiers met and defeated the other army by rushing on them from ambush and contriving to force the entire number over the cliff which is 2,000 or 2,(5)00 feet high, thus wiping out the complete army and winning the most complete victory the world has ever known, although we never heard this in school. It's surely taught over here, and that's why there are so many places named Kamehameha over here.

'The days of the great Hawaiian kings have long passed into history but the 15,000 or 20,00 native Hawaiians left in the once independent little country held this famous king's name sacred and there are certain days of the year celebrated as holidays in his honor.

'To get to the 'Pali", we started climbing through some of the most beautiful places one could imagine. In some places, possibly for an eighth of a mile, the very road becomes a tunnel through the foliage and vine-clad verdure of huge (panyon) and palm trees which line this road for miles. After about 20 minutes of this climbing, a great roaring was heard, and we came around a short curve and stopped the car and took off our caps, for we'd reached the 'Pali' and it was surely more wonderful than we had heard. The thrilling part of it was the great wind or young tornado which comes direct from the sea and being bottled up by the two walls never lets up. One has to be very careful or it will blow the top off one's car and one can scarcely walk against it. It is so wonderful it can not justly be described.'

In another letter received by his parents this morning, Corporal Buch declares that the lava is still flowing from the crater of Mauna Loa, and that the stream is (8)00 feet wide and at a depth of 5 to 10 feet. The natives are not afraid, he asserts, but are toasting post cards at the edge of the flow and selling them to tourists as souvenirs.

Corporal Buch enlisted at Fr. Snelling, Minn. June 24, 192(5), and has been stationed at Fr. Ruger, Hawaii, since that time, during which period he has made an exceptional record, rising from a recruit to non-commissioned officer, ranking corporal, in 10 months. He has been a special duty man since last September, known as clerk of the battery. Corporal Buch plans on returning home this summer. He will (sail) Aug. 4 for Honolulu."