Sunday, March 4, 2018

Haleakala After Glow
As is often the case with sunsets, the show isn’t over just because the sun as dropped below the horizon.  The sky often continues to put on a show from the sun’s rays that continue to sort of bounce around the sky.  And, as we drove down Haleakala, we continued to get a pretty fabulous show!
At first, the light was still the warm light that we saw from the sun as it set…..
Evening Warmth
But, then, the cool night sky began to claim its territory…..
After Glow
And, then, as night fell, the colors glowed with the cool pinks and purples of day’s end, before the pitch dark of night completely took over….
Evening Magic
Haleakala Afternoon & Sunset
Since we had a lot of time before our flight, Jeff and I decided to visit Haleakala one last time, this time to see and photograph the sunset that night.  As we drove up toward the summit, we wondered if we’d get to see a sunset, since we were bogged down in heavy fog and clouds, with some drizzle happening from time to time.  But, then, just before we reached the summit, we burst thru into the sunshine and blue skies!  We stopped at the place where we saw the sunrise just a couple of weeks before, and this time saw clouds just rolling into what is known as the crater.  However, that crater has been worn away by erosion to the extent that if we could see it minus the clouds, it wouldn’t look like a crater at all.
Clouds Creeping Up the Crater
We then drove about a half mile to the absolute top of Haleakala, where we could see Mona Kea and Mona Loa from an observation area.  As you can see, they barely broke thru the cloud cover on this day, even tho both of them are over 13,000 feet in elevation!  And, both of those mountains are on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Mona Kea and Mona Loa from Maui
After a while, the sunset began to happen.  At first, tho, the light just seemed to play over the cloud tops, which we were looking down on!  That is quite a surreal experience, if you stop to think about it.  I have been higher than the clouds, but generally from a plane, and now I was just standing near the edge of Haleakala’s summit.  I processed this image as black and white, just to emphasize the contrast of the play of the light on the clouds.
Early Evening Rays
When the sunset began, the light gave the tops of the clouds a sort of golden glow.  It was also interesting to me that some of the clouds appeared almost wispy, especially those closest to me.  The dark on the bottom of the image is the rocky land upon which I stood.
Golden Light
And, then it began!  The sun just glowed a warm orange as it began to set behind a higher ridge of clouds.  It again seemed a bit surreal as I’m used to the sun setting below the clouds, and not from above them!
End of Day
We stayed until the sun was just about gone.  I sort of hated to leave, as I felt like this sunset truly marked the end of our visit here.  As the sun set behind the cloud ridge, the clouds in front took on that wonderful contrast type of look.  I’m glad the cloud cover was so high on this day as it allowed me to photograph this sunset with the clouds truly at my feet.
Almost Gone
Last Day in Paradise – I’ao Valley and Needle
On our last day in Maui, we had quite a bit of time free to explore, as we had to leave the cottage we stayed in at 11am, and our flight out didn’t happen until almost midnight.  We decided to visit a small state park called I’ao Valley and I’ao Needle.  The state park was very lush, and quite green and lovely.
Stream at I’ao Valley
As we walked up the path and stairway toward the Needle and a great view of the valley, we passed some lovely flowers.  It was rather quiet, even considering there were a number of visitors to the park.
I’ao Valley Bloom
One of the things that surprised me was the Bird of Paradise plant.  I guess I never paid much attention to anything except the bloom itself, but here I noticed that the blooms were off a small tree, or perhaps considered a tall shrub.
Bird of Paradise Bloom
However, people don’t come to this park for the lovely flowers.  There is quite a bit of history associated with this area.  This once was a sacred burial ground for several chiefs of Maui, and this peaceful looking park was the site of last giant battle for supremacy.  In 1790, Kamehameha the Great (king of the Big Island of Hawaii) decided to do battle again for Maui (each island was considered a separate kingdom).  The battle might have been fairly even, except for a canon that Kamehameha nicknamed “Robert”.  Kamehameha kept advancing with “Robert”, driving the Maui troops further and further back into the I’ao Valley, and killed every one of them, while their wives and children looked on from the cliffs above.  Even by Hawaiian standards at the time, this was a brutal battle.  It’s truly hard to imagine this quiet and peaceful place being the site of so much bloodshed.
View from I’ao Valley
The I’ao Needle is sort of at the highest point that the trail took us to and is actually the end of a long, very narrow ridge.  From the side, it would look flat, but from our vantage point, it’s easy to see why they called it the Needle.  This entire area is what remains of the caldera of the ancient West Maui volcano.
I’ao Needle

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Leaf Patterns
One of the things that I really loved about the tropical island of Maui was the variety of patterns that were found in the palm trees.  This quick blog is to share some of my favorites
Heart of the Matter
Around the Cottage Scenics and Surfers
Altho we weren’t right on the water, that didn’t mean that we didn’t have some great views from our lanai!!  And, it didn’t mean we weren’t close to some lovely scenery and some surfers who seemed oblivious to the beauty!
We never got brilliant sunrises or sunsets off our lanai, but we did get the sort of lovely, soft colors that a tropical sunrise can bring.  It wasn’t all that unusual to have this type of view in the mornings off the lanai.
Morning Rays
And, later in the day, I loved the way the light just played off and thru the fronds of the palm trees that dotted the yard.  It seemed to make them shimmer.
Natural Patterns
Not far from our cottage (about 5 minutes away), there was a great surfing beach.  The waves always seemed to be crashing against the shoreline.  The view from above the beach, on Ho’okipa Lookout Point, was impressive.  I was always amazed at how, on a sunny day, the reflection of the water and the sky seemed to color the mountains in the background a blue green color.
View from Ho’okipa Lookout Point
And, the stars of the show were the surfers.  I’ve compiled a bit of a collage of some of them.  It was interesting to see the varying degrees of expertise among them, and the colors of the boards and swimming attire added dots of color to the blue and white scene!
Surfers on Ho’okipa Point
Around the Cottage in Paradise
We saw many wonderful and beautiful sights in Maui, and as I would sit on the lanai, or walk the grounds around the cottage, there were some lovely sights right in our backyard.or not far from it!
We would see some wildlife right off the lanai.  One was an egret that seemed to visit the front yard fairly regularly, and the other was an interesting looking red-headed bird. I looked it up and it was a red-headed cardinal, whose body was mostly blue!
Cardinal and Egret
Every so often, we’d hear an incredible racket that was clearly made by some animal, and at first, I thought some larger creature would cause it.  Then, one morning, I was standing at the door to the lanai, and found out it was these two birds!  The one on the lower right in this image might be a robin, and the one on the upper right is a kolea, or golden plover.  This little bird flies over 2500 miles nonstop to Alaska every year for the summer, and then returns to Hawaii after mating.  Some actually then continue to fly another 2500 miles to Samoa and other South Pacific islands.  I guess when one does that type of travel each year, one can make as much noise as one likes!
Quite the Noisy Pair
We also saw geckos around the cottage a lot!  Now, that might freak some folks out, but I happen to think they are really cute!  Besides, they are always busy keeping the bug population down!  We never knew where they hid, tho, as they seemed to just disappear when we’d look away for a minute.  Once, we managed to catch this little guy making off into his hiding place!
Gecko Hidey Hole
There were some beautiful blooming trees and plants around the cottage as well.  One tree that served as a wonderful privacy fence between our cottage and the home of the property owners produced these beautiful blooms.  I’m thinking they are hyacinths, but I’m not sure.  What I am sure of is that they made the most beautiful privacy barrier that I’ve ever seen!
Luscious Bloom
I’m not certain if this particular type of day lily is only found in Hawaii, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen this color in any day lily I’ve seen on the mainland!  I was very glad I captured this image when I did.  A few days later, a heavy (altho brief) rainstorm really battered these flowers, and they never looked as good as they did when I got this shot.
Hawaiian Day Lily
There were also small bushes that grew oranges, I think.  They never got ripe enough for me to be absolutely certain, but as time wore on, they seemed to be turning orange. This image, tho, was taken early in our visit, when the color was more of a yellow-green.  I just loved the perfection of nature.
This bloom reminded me a lot of a variation of water lily.except it was attached to a shrub or bush that most definitely was not in water!  The impossibly bright pink color is the actual color of this bloom no adjustment done by me!
Impossibly Bright
I also loved the way the light would play thru the leaves of some of the shrubs around the cottage.  It made the leaves on this bush seem almost translucent.
Lines and Shades
Even when the leaves were beginning to dry out, they offered some pretty color contrast that just winked at me until I took their picture!
Green and Gold Leaves
There were a couple of these interesting trees on the far side of our cottage.  Their leaves or blooms I’m not certain which were strings of what looked like tiny green pearls.  Of course, they weren’t pearls, but they certainly looked like that.  And, these sort of blooming pods just seemed to erupt from all around the tree.  I’ve never seen anything like this before!
Interesting Tree
And, finally, one morning, after a shower, as I wandered about, I noticed this raindrop just hanging onto the very tip of a long slender leaf.  It wasn’t until after I processed the image that I realized I was reflected in the raindrop!!  I don’t know if you can make me out in this small sized image, so you may just need to take my word for it!

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Road After Hana
There’s much focus on driving TO Hana, but the road does continue after you leave Hana.  Jeff and I decided to just drive the entire road around that part of the island, and altho not nearly as lush as the way to Hana, it does have some interesting sights to see!
There are some areas that have touches of lushness, as you can see by the image of a stream that I took.  To be honest, this was shortly after leaving Hana, and there were touches of lushness still around.  But southeast Maui, where we were now driving, is dry compared to the other side.  It’s really amazing how diverse Maui is, in terms of weather and environment!
Peaceful Stream
The southeast coast can be really pretty and there were several different views.  On this side of the island, the road is much less winding and it’s easier for the driver to also enjoy the views!
Southeast Maui Coast
Jeff and I actually got a bit of a history lesson on this drive.  There is a small church along this route, Palapala Ho’mau Church.  It looks like a charming country church, and it was open so that one could step inside.  There’s something about the inside of a church that makes me just stop, breathe and reflect for a moment or two.  The history that I spoke of was found in the small cemetery next to the church.  Charles Lindberg, the aviator who flew the first solo flight across the Atlantic, is buried there.  It seems that he lived the last 6 years of his life on Maui, in this area.  He was diagnosed with cancer, and when his doctors in New York told him he had only 7 – 10 days to live, he called his grown son to get him back to Maui.  His son purchased a portion of the first class section of a commercial jet, and Charles made his final flight home.  He died a week after he got back home….to Maui.
Palapala Ho’mau Church and Charles Lindberg’s Grave
As we drove on, the coast became drier and rockier.  One interesting formation along this route is this sea arch.  It’s not exactly what one would think of as a picnic spot, but there were people picnicking on this site.  After this, the road curved back up the mountain (Haleakala) and we drove across the mountain back to our little vacation cottage.
Sea Arch