Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Polipoli State Park


On the slopes of Haleakala Crater at 6,2000 feet is the Polipoli State Park recreational area. Bordering the Kula Forest Reserve, the 10 acre park is a protected bird sanctuary. The Hawaiian word "polipoli" translates to "bosom."
The forest is a delight of exotic trees, cypress, sugi, ash, plum, cedar and pine. The redwoods are quite impressive. They tower over the other trees, with a seemingly strong root system. Many of the trees have toppled, leaving large exposed root balls. There is even a new sign posted that warns hikers of the danger of falling trees.

Two years ago there was a devastating forest fire on the slopes of Haleakala at the 6,000 foot level. Many trees were torched, and a lot of dead trees are still standing. A reforestation effort is under way. The koa tree, ( an acaia) a Hawaii native that is listed as endangered, is now being planted on the slopes. Large boars roam these forests and hill sides, and tend to root around the newly planted koa trees. Luckily, the koa trees are rather quick growing.

The park has several forested trails. One of my favorite trails winds through the redwoods and passes through an area of very, very tall flowering blue and purple hydrangeas. and, pink and red fuchsias. If it is a wet year, this particular area can be a riot of color. Two old picturesque 1930's CCC cabins are set along this trail. The trails are often shrouded in mist, making these hikes peaceful, with abundant greenery. The 5 mile hike around the park boundary is a great work out. On the exposed ridge of the boundary trail, the Big Island of Hawaii is visible on a clear day. Hiking prepared with layers, gortex, and maybe a fleece vest is recommended. It can get quite cold at this elevation.

Besides hiking, several trails are designated for mountain biking. I personally do not mountain bike, but the trails are acclaimed by those in the know.

From the B&B in Makawao, the drive is about 45 minutes long. The road, once it turns into dirt, can be challenging for small cars . The road does continue on to wrap around into some very rough 4x4 roads that lead up the side of the mountain.

Until next time, Happy Hiking, and Happy Holidays!

A hui ho,


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our First Rains!! The Garden Sings.


Upcountry Maui is smiling today. Yesterday in Makawao we broke a long dry spell. It rained, it poured, it soaked the ground, and put a smile on many faces.

I had been bargaining with myself, the water gods, and the water department since last Feb when we had our last good rain. My vegie garden took a beating over the summer. One conclusion I came to, was although a spring planting brought a sense of renewal and promise, watching the garden wilt over the summer was painful. I have to look for a shadier spot for my summer food next year.

I know some visitors to the islands are only looking for sun. Take heart, even if we have some rain, it is still probably at least 72 degrees outside, and the waterfalls are glorious. No more trickles, they are downright roaring today. I may go out in search of a great photo, and will share it when I get one.

The other good news is, usually if you drive 15 minutes in either direction, the weather will change, one way or another. Even if you sit still, the trade wind showers will blow through in no time. This rain , that made sleeping so wonderful last night, looks to be more than a passing trade shower. This is marking a seasonal change, and we welcome it. I may have to re-think the crater hike I was planning for tomorrow. When the sun bursts through in a couple of days, everything will be sparkling, and the papayas and bananas will be fatter.

The white flowering bush off the lanai is just coming into it's glory. My daughter calls it "snow on the mountain." I love that name, it suits the plant well. It fills the air with a subtle fragrance, and it is one of our holiday treats.

Staying cozy, with Aloha,


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Princess Ka'iulani Festival

Aloha from upcountry Maui!

St. John's Episcopal church in beautiful Keokea recently hosted one of the sweetest festivals I have every attended.

The festival was in honor of Princess Victoria Kawekiu Lunalilo Kalaninuiahilapapalapa Kaiulani, lovingly known to the Hawaiians as the "princess of the peacocks".

The princess was a strikingly beautiful woman of mixed blood. Her father was a Scotsman, Archibald Cleghorn, and her mother, Miriam Likelike, a Hawaiian girl from a chiefly family. Princess Ka'iulani was next in line to take the throne when Queen Liliuokalani was deposed and imprisoned after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.

This quaint festival honored her mixed heritage, with my favorite, the Isle of Maui Pipe Band. The band plays music from many Celtic nations, in celebration of bagpipe playing in Hawaii since the 1800's. Sitting on the emerald grass listening to the great looking folks in kilts playing soulful bag pipe music made for a perfect afternoon.

The icing on the cake was the Princess Ka'iulani Fashion show. A historical review of magnificent gowns worn by the first ladies of the Hawaiian monarchy, graced the stage with a breathtaking backdrop on the slopes of Haleakala. The gowns were replicated after a year and a half of studying the archives of the Bishop Museum.

After a day of hula performances, Hawaiian music, harps and fiddles, lots of smiles, old friends, and great food, I was a happy camper. This little gem of a festival was nostalgic of "the good ol' days," and I look forward to it again next year.

Until next time, a hui ho...