Saturday, February 28, 2015

Land of Standing Up Rocks...

is the name the Chiricahua Apache Indians used in describing what would one day become a National Monument.  

In the National Park Service scheme of things, it's kind of small. There's about 20 miles of trails which were lovingly built by the Civilian Conversation Corp in the 1930's. When you see infrastructure in the National Parks, it's (oftentimes) CCC construction. They over engineered whatever they created. The Corp left a lasting legacy of well-made pubic works projects.
Thanks Guys! 

Today one can find quiet, big views and lots of whimsical shaped rocks. With a little imagination you can discover:  Punch and Judy, Kissing Rocks, Duck on a Rock, E.T and one Camel. Yes! I walked ten miles for a camel. (Who remembers that cigarette commercial?)

It took me awhile to maneuver, set and balance that 1,000 ton boulder. For the fans of this blog (all 20 or so of you) no biggie. Anything for a good photo op. 

Good night from Chiricahua National Monument in Arizona.
The last photo is Cochise sleeping peacefully nearby.

Next Stop Las Cruces, NM. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

An ocean free day...

It went well! 

I spent quality time with the Saguaro cacti around Scottsdale. 

Fun Facts about Carnegiea gigantea. 

First off. They are named in honor of Andrew Carnegie. Andy is famous for US Steel and building beautiful libraries. His bibliothecas stand out in unusual places like Walden and Trinidad, Colorado. I can spot one a zip code away. 

Two: They can weigh over a ton and grow to 40 feet tall. An arm sprouts after 75-100 years. The specimens who go armless are named spears. I think calling them an exclamation point is more accurate.

Three: Like me, they are cold weenies. After a few hours of below freezing temperatures, they'll perish.

Four: They make crappy shade trees. 

I saw a Humpback whale expelling a breath nearby. It must have got horribly lost! No. That's the man made geyser of Fountain Hills. Robert McCulloch (of chain saw fame) had it built to draw folks to his planned community. He's also the dude who had London Bridge reconstructed over the Colorado River in Lake Havasu City. Rumors abound he thought he was buying the much more ornate Tower Bridge. Whoops! 

I hear an IPA calling my name and I must go. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Land Ho!

Arizona is the antimatter of Hawaii. There's barely any water, just dirt-dry land all around. I was ready for this look.
I'll miss Hawaii's breaching and blowing Humpback Whales and those bold Green Turtles though.
I won't miss black lava rock.

I shot these photos from Mighty Camelback Mountain in the wilds of Scottsdale after my midnight flight from hell.

Tell us Jeffy, why was it the flight from Hades? OK. I'll tell ya.

A retired pilot (you would think he would understand "red eye" travel and the need for sleep) yammered away the entire flight. He apparently had a captive audience. We were all trapped! 
I knew there was a lot of Blarney spewing from his trap when I overheard this.

"I told Wilbur and Orville, tweak the propeller and wing shape and you'll get this contraption to fly!" 

I'm beat, I'm drinking a great IPA and I'm happy to be back on the Mainland.

I'm torn on whether to get tomorrow's workout in A) Scottsdale's Fashion Square or B) hike a nearby mountain. Decisions. Decisions.

I think I'll go with Choice B.

Barley the Van says Yo to everyone too.

Chiricahua National Monument here we come!

Be well.
I like land. It's easier to hike on. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

You meet the nicest people IV...

Jenny, John and Ana (John Jr. was too embarrassed to be seen with me) are also visiting the Big Island.

I've known Jenny when her last name was Brannan. I watched her grow up since the age of 8. Here she is with two kids and a great husband. I was present at their wedding too.

Does this mean I am getting older too?

Fun visit, wonderful people. 

I board my flight back to Phoenix and Barley the Van tonight at midnight.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Goodbye to HI...

"Relax" is the slogan often seen on Tommy Bahamas products.

 I've been on Hawaii for 10 weeks, I'm ready to move onto another slogan. Hell, I'll even try Nike's lame, "Just do it!" motto. I'm weary of sitting. I'm failing at being a Beach Bum.

I'm not a water based mammal. I'm terrestrial. I have a college degree in forestry, not oceanography.

I've run out of things to do. Before you scoff and think, "how can anyone grow tired of Paradise?" Hear me out.

Hawaii's land mass is 4.1 million acres. Public lands make up 43%. Sound good so far,  right?  However, stats can be conceiving. 

The Feds own about 9%. Most of these acres lie in the two Volcanic National Parks. That's cool, but limited amount of hiking. Our Mighty Military controls the remaining acres which they have exclusive rights to. It's not a good idea to pick wild flowers on their installations. 

The rest of the public land is owned by the state of Hawaii. The Aloha State Government does an admirable job with its oceanside properties. Makes sense, since most of the locals and tourists love to frolic in the salt water of the islands.

Unfortunately, the Hawaiian State Parks system seems to manage with a laissez faire approach to its anterior land holdings. It's a free for all in there.
Where there is fresh water, more than likely you will find squatters. 

The majority of the islands land mass is privately owned. Land ownership is a highly charged, complicated and contentious issue among the native Hawaiians. (Isn't it always with indigenous people?) Suffice it to say, the locals got screwed by the Haoles (white folks). 
You can't flip an apple core without striking a "No Trespassing, Private Property" or the Hawaiians version "Kapu" sign in these parts.

So...Jeffy what's your point?

I've stayed a week too long on small islands.
I would have to sprout gills, fins and scales to find more to do here. (All the requirements of a Kosher fish)
I'm used to places like the Weiminuche Wilderness in Colorado for my wandering ways. I need my space!

Next winter, I'm thinking Central or South America or both for my getaway. I'm open to ideas and suggestions.

Would I return to the Aloha State? Heck yeah! Maybe (God Willing) as a couple so I'll fit in more. 

This sure beats winter.

Next stop! Our Mainland's Southwestern National Parks. Ahh! 

Does anyone know a cure for tendinitis of the butt? I've developed a bad case from all this sitting. 

See the last photo? I wasn't making this VOG stuff up! 

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Long Day to (Cough! Cough!)...

Volcanoes  National Park 

The nice Ranger assured me there's nothing wrong with breathing the air in the park.

"Today, the sulfur dioxide isn't too bad. Besides it's the particulate matter that's the real problem. It's kind of like gasified glass."

Hmmm. Nothing like inhaling a ground up beer bottle while hiking.

The 7.5 mile trail is between two venting  volcanoes. The Big Island is a volcanologist wet dream. 

The landscape is featureless. The color varies from charcoal black to asphalt black. It's the Goth look living large. 
Finding your way through this geologic maelstrom would be nearly impossible if not for the cairns acting as beacons through the chaos.

As you can see from the photos the lava flows destroys rain forests and public work projects with equal impunity. 

I've had my fill of Volcanoes National Park. I prefer my volcanoes to be like Mount Saint Helens. There you can find Mother Nature working overtime. A lot less bleak. I like that. 

Should I be worried about the blood in my sputum? 

Good Night from Cough! Cough! Kona,


Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Valentines Day Hug

so far.

It began with a 75 drive to the end of the road. Literally. Then hike down 1,200 feet and back up 1,200 feet in less than two miles (twice) to score one romantic interlude. 

OK. So it's a Banyan Tree. Do you have a problem with that? 

Afterward, I basked in the after glow. But it was probably sweat. 

Hope all you Honeymooners had a wonderful Valentines Day.
To the few singles out there, it's safe to come out of hiding now.


Friday, February 13, 2015

It's a Couples World...

Especially in Hawaii.

I guess I should have been suspicious when I booked my flights with Hawaiian Airlines.

When I entered "1" for number of passengers, the following internet dialogue began:

Airline: "One Passenger? Are you sure?"
Me: "Yes"
Airline: "I'll have to speak to my supervisor. Please hold."

I was getting kind of nervous in the interim. Was I on a Homeland Security "Watch Out For This Dude!" List? Maybe I shouldn't have thrown that banana peel out of my van's window.

Airline: "We don't get this request often. We will transport your solo body to the Aloha State, but we'll have to assess a being single surcharge. The state of Hawaii doesn't condone this sort of behavior. We hope you understand. Mahalo!"

So I paid extra to be in a winter paradise. Little did I know my I Phone's "Siri" application would be my one source of conversation here. She's good at telling me where to go, but that's about it. 

So...Happy Valentines Day to all you Honeymooners.

I'll be hiding out in my room until the Duo Day blows over. 
I did the same on New Year's Eve.

Don't eat too many chocolates.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Um Um Good...

He/She is  in the soup pot now.

Only joking. Seeing turtles and whales have been the highlight of my time in Hawaii.
Almost as awesome as shopping in Maui.

The great thing about turtles is that they don't run away.

It's Happy Hour Time!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Green Turtle Diaries...

I heard rumors about a shallow lagoon where Man-Eating Green Turtles stalk and prey upon clueless tourists like me. 

Since I'm always on the prowl for a potential blog, I decided to risk it all for my  faithful readers. (All twenty or so of you).
These terrible terrapins (they aren't really terrapins, but it sounds better this way) lurk on the shoreline waiting for their two-legged meals to arrive. Then when you are in their surf, they pounce! A few will latch on to you and drag you under until they sense your dying quivers. Then they give each other "High Flippers" before the shredding and munching begins.

These are ruthless marine life forms. They strike fear in the hearts of all sea grasses.
They are harmless (gluten free) vegetarians. They are sort of cute too, in a pathetic way. They are on the Endangered Species list.

I had lunch with one. He/she blinked a few times. That was it. This species has basking down to a fine art form. I was humbled and kind of bored just waiting for him/her to do something! 

I loved it though. 

They live to be around 80. Will he/she remember our brief moment together? I doubt it, but I will. 

Good Night from Kona,

Sunday, February 8, 2015

It was a good game plan...

Hit the road early, hike through 10 miles of rain forest and have time to give Hilo the once over.

Funny how the hike description and map forgot to mention the 2.5 mile road to the trailhead was on private property. Whoops! With thoughts of the Hawaiian version of "Deliverance" (ukuleles instead of banjos) I didn't force the issue. 

I'll lay it on the I Pad line, if you read something on the "Wandering, Wondering Jew" blog site, the information is accurate and honest. I crossed all my toes and fingers while I typed that. 

So...I played tourist and visited a waterfall, a Botanical Garden and gritty and gray Downtown Hilo.
I drove over 200 miles. They don't call this the Big Island for nada. Fun Factoid: all the other Hawaiian islands combined would fit into the still-growing BIg Island.

I found more Wandering Jews! They seemed pretty well entrenched. They must be on a wandering hiatus. I do that every now and then myself. 

I'm going to limit my driving to less than 100 miles mañana.

Good night from VOGGY Kona,

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Beach Chair Blues...

and how to avoid them. 

I wonder, (remember I wander and wonder) if there will ever come a time when I wake up, stretch, scratch a few private places and go sit on a beach chair. That'll be my day. So far, I've been dodging this less than grueling lifestyle.

How do you do it Jeff? Good question.

I owe it all to a pot of coffee each and every morning. 

In the Aloha State, I've been drinking Kona and Columbian brews (Good Stuff). For me it acts like a liquid defibrillator. After downing a gallon, I have to go out and do something. That energy has to be directed somewhere. So I might as well hike to pretty places like this.

Poor Eddie might have drank too much of my brew. He OD'ed. 

I don't condone the use of legal drugs for everyone, but it sure works for me. Time and time again.

Now it's time for an IPA,
Speaking of book sales and IPA's, I sold one Kindle edition of "Destroying Demons on the Diagonal" today. That will buy me one/third of locally made "Throwaway or Big Swill" IPA. Their real names are Castaway and Big Swell. The Hawaiians are more adapt at making java than hoppy beer.

Good night
PS. Those Wisconsin cows (see my shirt) provide the Half & Half for my coffee. God Bless them.

Friday, February 6, 2015

"And now the rest of the story"...

The 1871 Trail acquired it's name from one inter-department mail from  Henry Cooper, Kona road supervisor to F.W Hutchinson, Minister of the Interior dated August 1, 1871.

 "I have remade two miles of road on the beach across the lands of Ke'ei and Hōnaunau, this improvement was much required as the road had become almost impassable."

History lost the second half of this message. But Jeff Sambur, archives sleuth found the aged parchment in a dusty corner of the Kona library. 

Here it is:
"Hey F.W, I wasn't going to bust a nut on this project. It ain't a bowl of papayas (see photo) to try and make a two horse trail out of lava.
Here's my suggestion, if we hang loose until 1959, Hawaii will become a state. Then the Mainland Haoles (White Guys) will come in with Federal Highway Funds and build us a two lane highway. Until that time, we can surf, drink umbrella drinks and work on our tans.
Wadya say?" 

And that's the rest of the story.
Good day!
Jeff (Paul Harvey) Sambur

PS the trail is still good enough for one goose.