Monday, October 21, 2013

Native Hawaiian Petroglyphs, Olowalu Canyon, Maui

If you've happened to glance at my Flickr page in the last couple days then you are already aware that there's a bunch of stuff coming to this blog from Kauai and Maui. Two weeks of island time has resulted in hundreds of great photos, a deep dark tan, and an aversion to anything resembling exercise. So if you care enough to follow this blog, you may find that you are in for a treat... a pretty comprehensive overview of what's important to see on both isles. We lived on Oahu's north shore for a year so Ruth and I know how to see and do Hi Country without getting sucked into the tourist holes.

So let's start this off with some images that look familiar to the blog, petroglyphs! I need to send up a big thanks to a certain friend of the blog for reminding me to check out Olowalu Canyon on Maui. Pecked and scratched into the volcanic basalt cliffs of this long and narrow canyon are dozens of typical anthropomorphic etchings. This is one of those sites that a tourist in a rental car can just drive up to, except that of course nobody does. To get there, find the cruise ship town of Lahaina on a Maui map. A few miles west of Lahaina is an area called Olowalu, notable only for the Olowalu General Store, which is known for it's huli uli chicken and kalua pork plate lunches. Drive past the west side of the store and immediately go left on a narrow dirt road. Follow the road through a sharp right turn and drive about a third of a mile through fields into a red basalt canyon. Ground level petroglyphs should soon be visible on the right hand cliff face. Enjoy!

More from HI is on the way, and though I am on call this coming weekend (the ole workplace ball & chain), I am getting psyched for fall and what I've got planned in the SLP. So yeah, I haven't quit, just stepped out for a bit. 

This is the one that got me curious, as in, this doesn't resemble any native animal on the Hawaiian Islands, but it does resemble a feral cat, which the europeans brought with them when it was their turn to discover the isles.

Hawaiians used BRMs too!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Photos from Monterey and Big Sur

Bixby Bridge, CA 1
Here's what half a day in Monterey, and a drive down the CA 1 via Big Sur, got me. Ruth and I made the most of our limited time, slept little, ate well, and Ruth endured my proclivity for photography. Give me a week or two and I'll be bringing you all some scenic stuff from somewhere else. It'll be a treat, at least for me. After all that I will be returning to the SLP.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Egg Drop Jelly
Monterey Bay Aquarium
17 Mile Drive, Monterey
This guy was pretty pleased with this crab he caught. Poor crab got to be yanked apart one limb at a time. The otter's crunching was quite loud. Very amusing to watch. 
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
I hit McWay Falls at the wrong time of day for shooting the actual falls, but click the image larger and you can see it. 
McWay Falls, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Big Sur
Big Sur
Elephant seals in a tussle

Friday, October 11, 2013

Palm Springs, Death Valley National Park

One of the burros that hang at the spring.
Oasis. n. pl. 1. A fertile or green spot in a desert or wasteland, made so by the presence of water.

2. A situation or place preserved from surrounding unpleasantness; a refuge: an oasis of serenity amid chaos.

Oasis, a word that we seldom use in it's literal context. Somewhere in northeast Nevada on an Indian reservation is a most beautiful turquoise blue pool with a white clay bottom. The pool is acres wide, ringed with reeds, up to 8 feet deep, and it's average temperature is about 103F. It is the most visually pleasing hot spring I have ever visited. I was led there by others and cannot now remember it's name, a problem I am trying to solve. Until I do, Palm Springs in Death Valley is my new favorite hot spring.  

Hot and cold water flow up from the ground at the lower, main springs. Here is where Lizard Lee and his Lady Friend reside, and here much energy and labor has resulted in a remarkable quartet of righteous pools. Each pool has an intrinsic uniqueness, from the one person washtub of cool spring water perched on a deck over a small stream, to a nicely mosaic'd tub for two, to a shaded grotto with crystals for company, this place has a tub for every taste. I got to take my time in each, basking in the fact that I and only one other traveler were even there (and the other guy was napping on the grass some distance from the pools). I really blissed out in the warm waters of the crystal pool, spent most of an hour floating there without any interruption.

There are two more tubs about a half mile away, these being considered the Upper Palm Spring. These large and luxurious pools are piping hot, and the view from each is spectacular, particularly at sunset. The hexagonal pool (below) can easily fit eight people though fortunately the most I shared it with was two others. This is also an excellent place to poach while watching stars fall. I loved Palm Spring, really. It's funky and weird and remarkable, a totally enjoyable place. I will most definitely be back. 

Upper Palm Spring

Upper Palm Spring
An art project at the main Palm Springs
Crystals at the "grotto" pool seen below
Tub for two
Books: borrow/donate
One person tub, and tucked in the shade below

The sun pool

One very happy burro, not many apples out here.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Saline Valley, Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is so enormous that it in fact contains several large valleys and numerous canyons. One of these valleys is called the Saline, and was once home to a large salt producing industry called Saline Valley Salt Works (Link). I really suggest following the previous link to an excellent resource for specific and general Owens Valley history. The Saline is a vast desert valley with many interesting features including a wetlands, sand dunes, a salt lake, old mine works, native art, etc... I managed to get to know quite a bit about the area in just 24 hours. I must add that getting around the the area requires 4x4, and a lot of it. Enjoy some photos with captions.

Remains of the Salt Works Tramway
Saline Valley Salt Lake
The wetlands under Hunter Canyon
BRMs in the desert!
An exposed vein of marble

A minoan maze, kind of cool.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Boxcar Cabin, Death Valley

I had gotten up early, run up and down Whitney, now what I needed was a place to crash. Why not take a tip from a friend of the blog, drive over to Death Valley and stay in a nice, snug cabin on the desert? The history of Boxcar Cabin is a bit difficult to pin down but the boxcar itself likely came from an abandoned rail line near Lone Pine. The cabin has been kept remarkably clean and the overall structure is in fair shape. The interior of the cabin boasts a small wood burning stove, comfy chairs, a cot, books and board games. The interior walls of the cabin are plastered with scribblings ranging from racial slurs and anti-government rants to flowery, rambling odes to the desert's mystical properties. There are many cartoonish doodles that are annoying in their banality, however there is also some very good art on these walls, particularly the watercolors (painting with watercolors is far more difficult than most people realize and I very much admired this artist's brush work). I threw down my own folding cot and enjoyed a very nice night

As weird as the Boxcar Cabin is, the website devoted to it ( is even weirder.

The north room, with a rickety wood burner and dismantled kitchenette. I threw my folding cot in here and had a really nice night.
The south room, where I relaxed with some tea and read for a bit before racking out. This room offers board games, books, views through screened windows that open, and an assortment of comfortable seating.
A painted glass window on the west wall.

Home on the range.