Monday, September 30, 2019

Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden

Photoset from O'ahu's Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden, in Kane'ohe on the windward side of the island. It's not actually that amazing as far as tropical gardens go; if you want to go look at some tropical plants exactly once, the Foster Botanical Garden is the place to go. It's also quite car-oriented: It's a long walk from the closest bus stop, and within the park you mostly have to walk along the main road and hope drivers see you in time. Which I guess isn't surprising given that the place began as a 1980s Corps of Engineers flood control project (hence the big lake in the middle, behind a barely-disguised earthen dam.), so aesthetics and visitor-friendliness were not really the main drivers behind the project.

All of that said, I thought it was worth visiting anyway; it sits almost directly at the foot of the Ko'olau Mountains, and it was worthwhile just for the view. If you also think things can be worthwhile just for the view, you'll like this place, otherwise not so much. One surprising detail is what you don't see: There's actually a busy freeway between you and the looming sheer cliffs, along with a couple of golf courses, but somehow you don't see or hear any indication they exist, so maybe the Corps of Engineers gets credit for that particular detail. Or at least I didn't notice any freeways or golf courses. But I live near a busy freeway and am rather good at not noticing freeway noise, so your mileage may vary, I guess. A late great aunt of mine -- who had lived in Honolulu since the early 1930s or so -- once explained to me that the H-3 freeway was not only a pointless waste of money, it was also cursed, and she was determined to never drive on it. She got her wish, in a way, in that construction dragged out literally for decades (wiping out at least one species of bird in the process), and in the end she died of old age several years before the thing ever opened. I am not superstitious by any means, but she was generally a rather wise person, so I've never driven or ridden on the H-3 either.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Lahaina Pali Trail

Here are a few photos from earlier today while hiking Maui's Lahaina Pali Trail (ok, the west half of it), on the dry, windy SW corner of the island. The trail follows the route of a ~200 year old road, as a way of reminding present-day locals that their ancestors had knees and ankles of steel, ascending to about 2/3 of the way up a row of enormous wind turbines.

A couple of quick travel tips:

  • The articles and all of the comments say to bring more water than you think you need. I'm going to go way out on a limb here and tell you that everyone who says this is right. Rule #1 is you need more water. Rule #2 is that, taking rule #1 into account, you still need more water.
  • Standard advice also says to go early, without defining what that means. I am here to tell you that 10am was not early enough.
  • The landscape looks a lot like some arid parts of the western mainland US, places like Oregon east of the Cascades (but hotter and more humid). So I found myself scanning the ground constantly looking for rattlesnakes. I kept reminding myself there are no snakes to look out for, but it hasn't helped yet. Your mileage may vary, so here's your reminder there are no snakes to watch out for here.