Braving Home: Chuck Humphries

Life with a Lava-Front View at the Base of a Hawaiian Volcano

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Chuck Humphries

Chuck Humphries Jake Halpern hide caption

itoggle caption Jake Halpern

Hawaii's Mount Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, sits in the center of a vast, smoldering wasteland of lava. Once a week, resident Chuck Humphries can be seen cutting across the miles of black lava fields on a motorcycle. It's the only way he can get his groceries.

Humphries lives in a treehouse in the lush remains of Royal Gardens, an abandoned housing development at the base of Kilauea that has been cut off from the world by lava for almost 20 years. Wild boars trot about the grass-covered streets and rusting cars, and at night, the charred black surroundings come alive with glowing streams of orange and red.

The 'Braving Home' Series Web Site

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One of the last inhabitants of the area, Humphries, a songwriter, has no plans to leave, no matter how close the lava gets. "One of the true beauties of this place is the isolation," Humphries tells journalist Jake Halpern in the third of a five-part series based on Halpern's book Braving Home. "It amazes me that this place isn't crawling with artists and novelists and people who want to get away from it all."

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