Monday, February 28, 2005

Case in Point

This view is looking across the east end of Maha'ulepu Beach near Punahoa Point. The wind was ferocious this day and the exposed cliffs have been endlessly battered by the elements here. Access to this area is controlled by a gate which is locked from 7:30 pm to 7:30 am each day and runs through a large property owned by Steve Case (of AOL fame). The west end is usually crowded on the weekends and is a favorite of the locals.

Bufo Toad Near Kipu Falls

Almost every animal on the island is an invader and came from somewhere else. These toads are called Bufo or Cane toads and they came from Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rican toads from Barbados, and the Barbados toads from Guyana. They are now spreading out over the Australian landscape.

The Forbidden Shark Shag

Took a trip to Ni'ihau, The Forbidden Island, and took a short safari without guns. We got to drive around the island on the west, east and north sides in an army issue Jeep from 1942. There were no seats, only wooden planks with red dirt-stained cushions, but it was comfortable enough. Saw many wild sheep, horses, goats and pigs and the first stop after the helicopter dropped us at Keawanui Bay was an area known as Ki'i Landing. We were told that this was a shark mating area and they were definitely active in the waters near the shore.

Here is a close up shot of a shark in very shallow waters

We counted about eighteen sharks in all and they were approximately 4 to 5 feet in length. They were Grey Reef Sharks and are supposedly not very aggressive, but no one was going in the water to find out.

A school of sharks swimming in Ki'i Landing (looking toward Pueo Point)

Orange Fungi

These orange mushrooms were growing on an old log near the Kilohana estate garden. Stopped here to ride in the horse carriage and snack on a pork sandwich.

Driftwood at the River's Edge

Driftwood, coconuts, net floats and other assorted junk was piled high on the south side of the Wailua river near Lydgate Park in Kauai. This area has some interesting ruins (heiau) that were considered a "Place of Refuge" for the Hawaiian people in ancient times.

Koi Conjunction

These colorful fish were in a frenzy the first time I passed by this bridge near the Tidepools restaurant in Poipu, Kauai. There were so many koi thrashing about that someone must have just fed the crazy carp.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Pictographs in Smuggler Canyon

The pictographs found in this area are estimated to be 2-3 hundred years old. This style is unique to California and is often referred to as San Luis Rey style. Unlike the more common stick figures and animals found elsewhere, these designs are largely zig-zags, diamonds and chains.

There are several morteros and a dry waterfall a half mile down the canyon from these paintings. From the top of the falls, there is an excellent view of the Carrizo Valley, Coyote Mountains and Tierra Blanca.

Agave & Cactus

This unusual combination of color is an agave plant growing over two small red-needled barrel cactus on the sand near a Kumayaay village.

The Kumeyaay people roasted the agave stalks in pits for up to three days and then the stalks were opened to extract a mollasses flavored food which was eaten or dried for future use.

Kumeyaay Morteros

This view is looking down from a large boulder on to a collection of morteros (mortars carved into bedrock). These moteros were filled with seeds or plants and used to grind or crush the food for use by the Kumeyaay Indians.

This village and and many other sites in the Blair Valley are evidence of the thriving population of native Americans who lived in this area.

Ghost Mountain Hike

Had a great weekend in the desert beginning with a hike up to the ruins of the Marshall South home on Ghost Mountain.

From 1930 to 1947, the eccentric poet, artist, and author named Marshal South and his family lived on this spot. Ghost Mountain is a remote, waterless mountaintop within the Anza-Borrego Desert in California. There is a lot of speculation about what went on during their stay on the mountain. Since their divorce in 1947, the three children and his ex-wife have been very secretive about their life in the desert. The walls have largely been destroyed but you can still see the catch basin and other cement structures they used to survive in the extreme climate.