Kauai, Hawaii for the first few days in August

From Alaska to Hawaii….we’re still in the United States but it doesn’t feel like it. All the names on the map are unpronounceable. The Hawaiian language only had 13 letters, 5 of them vowels, but they really like those vowels. My English eyes don’t read 4-5 vowels strung together, punctuated by apostrophes.

We crashed at a hotel in Honolulu the first night in Hawaii, then took an early flight to Kauai, rented a car, and drove to up the edge of the Wimea valley. We had booked two nights at a hostel, “Camp Slogget,” a YWCA camp, and when we arrived it was completely deserted. A note on the door urged us to call the caretaker, but the pay phone was out of order and there’s not cell reception (no wifi either). So us three had a 50 person bunk house all to ourselves….and the Hawaiian roosters who thought 3 a.m. was sunrise.

The mountains here are sharp, steep, and volcanic, a contrast to the glacier-carved steep ones in Alaska that were based on slate rock that was formed under a tropical ocean eons ago. It’s fascinating to think about how the molecular structure of the rock determines, along with erosion, how our world looks.

Entropy, entropy. The whole world is constantly getting worn down, eroded, and less orderly. I don’t notice it so much in NY, where our soils and rocks are slathered in vegetation. Hawaii is surprisingly dry in August, at least in the lowlands, and the red volcanic rock of the Wimea canyon is starkly exposed, dribbling down into the valley.

Good thing for Hawaii that the mountains push up air, creating clouds and rain on the mountains. Up high is thick tangled rainforest, enjoying the highest average annual rainfall on earth.

Check out those ferns! The ocean is straight behind, 5,000 feet below.

Hurray for sherpa daddy! These ridges feel razor thin, you can walk a “goat track” along the top and see down to the ocean on both sides of the island. Milo doesn’t seem to be afraid of heights.

Perhaps my favorite flower in my Owego garden is crocosmia, a gift of one of the expert master gardeners. Here they grow like our tiger lilies, weeds along the roadside.

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2 thoughts on “Kauai, Hawaii for the first few days in August

  1. Your comment about the molecular structure of rocks in interesting. It didn’t really grab me as a college student, but since those rocks become dirt for plants, it could be interesting…. Susanna?

    • I was thinking that mountains are mostly rock the soil is only a thin veneer over the bedrock, so perhaps their shape has a lot to do with that bedrock molecular structure, how it breaks up in response to water and wind.

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