Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 20 Rainbow Trees and An Abrupt Stop

Our second morning at the Kauai Inn started after sunrise, which gave us a chance to see how beautiful the grounds and background was.

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As we left to go out for the day we found a new city have moved in down the street.

To quote a line from the movie ‘Groundhog Day’ – “I’m bettin’ he’s gonna swerve first”

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Our day had us headed to some waterfalls – first was Wailua Falls. I was expecting to drive into a park and go for a hike to the falls, but we ended up driving up and getting a glimpse of them from the overlook in the fog.

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Still the double falls was impressive.

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We then headed to the nearby Opaeka’a Falls. While more distance, you did get a better view – but still no hiking.

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The Wailua River Valley is historically a Native Hawaiian settlement area.

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We continued up the road as far as it could go until we got to the Keahua Arboretum.

Not a traditional arboretum, but more of a ‘woods’, it nonetheless has some amazing trees. These are known as Rainbow Eucalyptus trees.

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As Wikipedia states: “The unique multi-hued bark is the most distinctive feature of the tree. Patches of outer bark are shed annually at different times, showing a bright green inner bark. This then darkens and matures to give blue, purple, orange and then maroon tones. The previous season’s bark peels off in strips to reveal a brightly colored new bark below. The peeling process results in vertical streaks of red, orange, green, blue, and gray.”

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Easily some of the coolest trees I have ever seen.

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With that we headed back down the mountain, passing some houses with great views.

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We stopped by Poliahu Park.

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Where the remains of a Heiau (temple) remains from ancient Hawaiian times. People have left lei’s as an offering.

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Our plans were to continue north to a wildlife preserve and lighthouse when we ran into a bit of a problem – literally. An elderly man missed seeing us coming down the road and pulled directly in front of us – BAM.

Airbags are an exciting event – scared the #$%^ out of me.

Fortunately nobody was seriously hurt, and after getting a replacement car from Avis (who get’s a shout out about how well they handled this situation), we got checked out and were on our way.

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We decided to skip the lighthouse and instead went to the Spouting Horn Park, where we met some of the local sea birds.

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Spouting Horn was nice, but with the much smaller waves it wasn’t nearly as impressive as the ones in Maui.

With that our eventful day came to an end.

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Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 11 Lahaina, Maui

Our trip brought us to Lahaina, on Maui. One of the oldest settlements in Hawaii, it was once the royal capital of Maui Loa.

Today it is a center of tourism (as is most of Hawaii).

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We were anchored just off shore where we had great views of the houses and boats along the coast.

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Another day – another great Hawaiian rainbow.

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Meanwhile the first mate casually monitored the situation.

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While the crew readied the skiffs.

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Once on the skiff, we headed towards shore.

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But first, a dolphin show (not planned, just lucky).

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Once on ground, we made our way to the famed Banyan tree of Lahaina. Planted in 1873, it is the largest banyan tree in America, covering almost 2 acres.

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We took a walk around town…

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To check out some of the historic buildings…

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Including the former prison.

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Some colorful houses.

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And a great mailbox.

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Eventually it was time to leave Lahaina.

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With one last look…

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We sailed off into the sunset.

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Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 6 Hilo

Day 6 started with some rain as we made our way down the mountain towards Hilo. As we drove along in the rain to our first destination I found the Apple Maps (the rental car has Apple Car Play) can let you down.

It had me turn on this ‘street’, which after about a mile I decided to give up, and back up until I could turn around. It is literally at the edge of town, so we weren’t way out in the middle of nowhere.

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Eventually we reached the town of Kalapana, about 20 miles south of Hilo, and Kaimu ‘Beach’. At one time it was a black sand beach, but in 1990 a lava flow overtook the beach and filled the entire bay.

As noted yesterday many believe that Hawaii is an independent Kingdom, not part of the U.S., especially for any new land that wasn’t part of the U.S. acquisition.

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This lava flow had some large cracks in it when it cooled.

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We are standing ‘in the bay’ looking back towards town.

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Further down the road is where the Spring 2018 lava flow wiped out 700 houses. While I feel bad for the people and their loss, who builds their house in the path of a volcano that has been flowing nearly continuously for 100 years or more.

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Yet here they are again, already popping up these little houses on the freshly cooled lava.

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Returning the other direction along the coast, we passed through some great forests.

 

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Eventually we reached MacKenzie State Park. Note the fisherman climbing the precariously placed ladder on the left and his fishing pole on the right. I am not sure what he is catching, but I hope it is worth it.

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On another recent lava flow people have placed Cairns made out of coconuts and leaves instead of the traditional rock piles.

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But it did lead to another great coastal view.

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Returning to Hilo, we went to Wailuku River Park, and found this impressive Banyan tree.

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The highlight of the park is Rainbow Falls. If you are there in the morning you will most likely see a rainbow, but it was afternoon so alas, we only saw the waterfall.

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About 20 miles north of Hilo is Akaka Falls. The hike down was through another ‘jungle’, although this one was nicely paved.

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At 442′ high it is one of the tallest waterfalls in America.

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There are even small waterfalls coming out of the rocks to the side of the main falls.

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The falls in located near the town of Honomu.

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Interestingly many small Hawaiian towns are built in the ‘old west’ style, albeit much more colorful.

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Once again we had a great view from our hotel, facing west across Hilo Bay towards the mountains (obscured by clouds in this photo).

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Next door was Lili’uokalani Park and Gardens. The site was donated by Queen Lili’uokalani, with the park being built in 1917 in the Edo style Japanese Gardens.

It is thought to be one of the best in the world outside of Japan.

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Well maintained with beautiful trees and landscaping.

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Along with some sculptures.

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I am not sure what these are known as so I called them Bonsai Palms.

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The park was very relaxing, and a great way to end the day.

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Many of the native trees have really cool, funky looks to them.

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Chillin’ on Coconut Island.

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Our hotel grounds were directly on the bay.

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As the sun was setting the last of the days flights were arriving. The airport was nearby, and the flight path brought the planes down the coast with a hard left turn just before the field. The clouds and setting sun added to the look.

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Another great Hawaiian sunset. Note that Manua Loa has come out of the clouds in the background.

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With that it was time for dinner, with entertainment.

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Battle Creek, Michigan – September 2018 – Fantasy Forest

There was once a forest of ash trees near the Leila Arboretum in Battle Creek, Michigan. As with thousands of these trees across North America, they fell victim to the Emerald Ash Borer disease and died.

But in the ultimate ‘if life gives you lemons make lemonade’ story the park brought in chainsaw artists who transformed them into a ‘Fantasy Forest’.

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They had a competition in 2015 for the artists, who came from all over the country.

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Some are the more traditional animals that you see from chainsaw artists.

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Others are more whimsical.

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Even though I have thousands of destinations on my list this was not on it, we just got lucky and drove by.

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The website for the arboretum has before photos of the dead trees – what a great transformation.

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Battle Creek Bigfoot?

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My favorite – the strange disappearance of Farmer MacDonald.Notice the UFO abducting the farmer. Not seen on this view is the wife outside the cabin with a shotgun trying to fend off the aliens.

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A close up of the Tree Wizard.

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The sculptures are at least 10′ high.

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This sculpture gives an idea of how some of trees appeared before being transformed.

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A centaur keeps guard over the forest.

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While a tree genie appears.

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The Fantasy Forest in Battle Creek, Michigan was a great find – even if it was by dumb luck.

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Delaware, OH – July 2018 – Fun with Funghi

Our hot weekend continued with a visit to a local Metro Park – Gallant Woods – that was holding a ‘Mushroom Hike’. Lead by Kari, one of the Education leaders from the park service, we wandered through the woods for an hour while she and others spotted various types of mushrooms.

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Our group was small, with Kari and another family who was into foraging for mushrooms, making it very educational.

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Most of the mushrooms were quite small, but still very interesting.

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We found interesting growth on trees.

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A red one on a small twig.

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Mushy ones on another dead tree.

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It was fascinating how when you start looking closely how many different types there are. Much time was spent explaining how difficult it is to see the difference between poisonous ones and those that are edible.

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Kari would often pick them to give us a closer look.

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When you looked closely the details are amazing.

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One large tree had them growing all the way up the 50′ tall tree.

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While you are supposed to leave the mushrooms where they grow for others to enjoy, we were permitted to keep some since Kari picked them as part of our tour.

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Across the road is the original homestead complete with a restored 1930s farm house.

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The entire county parks system is featuring flight this year so one of the barns had a great exhibit with model planes.

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The exhibit’s planes were very impressive.

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We thoroughly enjoyed our hike with Kari, and the time spent with the other staff and volunteers afterwards in the farm house. The staff was even kind enough to share some mushroom quiche they had been preparing in the 1930s stove.

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Urbana, OH – August 2017 – Cedar Bog

Champaign County, Ohio is the home to Cedar Bog, a nature preserve created by the receding glaciers and the ground water from the Mad River. As a result there is a great deal of vegetation that is not common in Ohio. The result is a beautiful,  but bug filled, boardwalk through the bog.

 

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