Posts tagged flowers

Onomea Trail, Big Island, HI 1/5/18

The Onomea Trail was an unexpected delight. It’s just off the Old Mamalohoa Highway, about 10 minutes north of Hilo.

It’s a steep, but not difficult, trail down to Onomea Bay, with gorgeous plants and views along the way.

wild Bird of Paradise flowers


fuzzy piggy-back ride

At the bottom of the trail, you reach the Bay:

We found a broken-open coconut, fallen from one of the palm trees on the shore:

Best snack ever – ocean-salty coconut!

This rocky promontory provided more views:

with tide pools:

Back to the trail which crosses through the middle of the Botanical Gardens. We met the Garden’s security guard, a retiree who sits on a beach chair, reading and listening to music, where the Onomea Trail crosses one of the Garden trails. He seemed eager to chat, and  guided us to some of the plants inside the fenced off Garden that we could see along our trail.:

Past the friendly guard, the trail takes you down some stairs to the spot where the Onomea Stream reaches the ocean:

And views of the Twin Rocks formation:

We were there at low tide, so the point where the river meets the sea was somewhat obscured by the rocky sandbar, but what a beautiful spot.

Family photos!


Final view as we climbed back up the trail to the car:

I’m sure the Botanic Garden is wonderful, but this spot is natural and free!


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Rainbow Falls, Hilo, HI

Rainbow Falls is in a state park in Hilo, with viewing platforms of the 80′ tall falls. The falls get their name from the fact that, on sunny mornings around 10AM, rainbows can be seen in the mist thrown up by the waterfall.

You can climb stone stairs up to a view near/above the top of the falls….


… then hike into the lush woods along the river…

… with banyan trees! Perfect for climbing…


A gecko:


walking along the river above the falls:




Views from another platform:


Between the gorgeous falls, the fun banyan trees and scrambling above the falls, and the easy 5 minute drive from downtown Hilo, Rainbow Falls is a must-see.

And here’s a shop and snack from Hilo:

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Hilo, HI – Liliuokalani Gardens

After a day/evening at Volcanoes National Park, we spent the night in Hilo. This is the view from our Hilo Reeds Bay hotel:


And banyan trees in front, along Banyan Drive:


Also on Banyan Drive is Queen Liliuokalani Gardens, a 24acre park/Japanese garden. In 1907, Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, donated the original 5 acres bordering Hilo Bay for a public park. It was dedicated in 1917 as a tribute to Hawaii’s first Japanese immigrants who worked in the sugar cane fields. FYI – she was the last reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii, thanks to the coup organized by American business interests including Sanford Dole (cousin to the Dole Pineapple Company). Cool fact, she wrote the Hawaiian ballad Aloha Oe in 1878, recorded by Bing Crosby, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Spongebob, etc.

The Gardens are beautiful, with bridges, walkways over water, stone urns, and views across the bay to snowcapped Mauna Kea.


Mauna Kea rises above Hilo Bay



High water flooded out some of the walkways


Mauna Kea, above the gate



Stone pagoda





lots of cats hiding in the gardens


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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – January 2018

Volcanoes National Park is about a 2-hour drive from Kona, but what a drive!


We stopped at Punalu’u Bake Shop for a snack and devoured some malasadas – a variety of sugar-covered filled donuts, with orange guava, purple taro, and yellow lilikoi:IMG_0877


You can see the huge Kilauea caldera, and the steaming Halema‘uma‘u crater in the center, from the deck at the Volcano House lodge.

We headed off to hike the short ‘Iliahi trail which leads through dense lush forest, then comes out on the rim of the caldera, and leads to the Steam Vent trail, where volcanic steam seeps out of cracks in the ground:

Steam Vents lead to Sulfur Banks trail, where you can see and smell the yellow sulfur deposits:

It’s kind of amazing that with all the steam and volcanic fumes, there are flowers and greenery:


Yellow sulphur on the hills and rocks:IMG_0903IMG_0904IMG_0905

Followed by picnic lunch near the visitor center:


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Hardy Park, Mansfield, MA 7/23/17

Hardy Park is a nice local area of conservation land, off of Maple St.

It’s a typical New England woodland trail, except for the chain link fence and towers of rail-car shipping containers. But you pass that bit of civilization and you’re immersed in nature, with a trail marker or two. We took the yellow trail to the green one, which goes by the ponds.

You get peeks at a small pond through the trees:

then come to the larger pond which has more open access:

Hmmm… that looks like a cistern and chairs across the way…

We had the entire trail to ourselves, except for the wildlife – that’s a pretty big toad.

Lavender flowers growing out of the water:

And a couple of nice resting spots:

We kept walking around to the far side. Lovely stroll, perfect day…

and reached those chairs…

Don’t know what this cement tube is, but it’s not a cistern.

Past this spot, the trail forks and we headed out onto the red trail, hoping we’d get some good views of the Canoe River…

Well, it’s the red trail, but no skittles in sight.

A butterfly:

and the trail out… but it’s too high above and away from the River, or the river’s too small, to see it. But there was interesting graffiti on a tree.

Great spot for nature, solitude, and easy 1 1/2 hour outing, including the sitting and admiring time.

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San Francisco final day – 6/5/17

From Sequoia National Park back to San Francisco, to see the sights we missed before the parks.

Like the Hidden Garden Steps– a volunteer and community-based public art project to create mosaic steps, a public garden and a wall mural on 16th Avenue extending uphill from Kirkham to Lawton.

From art on the steps to art on the walls – the Mission District murals. Throughout the neighborhood, hundreds of walls and fences are covered with colorful works of art featuring themes ranging from cultural heritage to social political statements. It would take hours to walk and see them all! But here are some beauties:

Balmy Alley has some of the earliest murals from mid-1980s. A local museum has paint supplies and walking tour maps to the murals.

A local playground is walled in by murals, with a colorful dragon for climbing.

We drove through the Castro district, during Pride Month:

and walked to the historic Ferry Building:

And finished with a great dinner at Sam’s Grill – the 5th oldest restaurant in the country, from 1867:


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Bodega Bay, CA – 5/29/17

Drove through rolling landscape towards Bodega Bay. Doubleclick any photo to enlarge.

Spent the windswept afternoon, exploring the cliff-bottom beaches overlooking an assortment of sea stacks – those weird  pillarlike masses of erosion-resistant “rock detached by wave action from a cliff-lined shore and surrounded by water.”

Arch Rock

Goat Rock is huge – connected to the coast by land turned into a parking lot.  This whole Sonoma Coast area has lots of beaches, but not for swimming due to the dangerous rip currents.

Goat Rock

Never saw the seals nesting – too windy to walk all the way. There’s a great Kortum Trail on the cliff-top meadow above the beaches, but the wind was wild. And the views were spectacular:

Next stop, Bodega Head, where there were reportedly pods of whales. I swear wildlife hides when they hear us coming. But more ridiculously windy views:

Drove down around to Hole in the Head, a beautiful beach area where Pacific Gas & Electric began excavations in 1958 to build a nuclear power plant – next to the San Andreas fault. Public protest and opposition to this is considered the birth of the anti-nuclear movement. In ’64, the Atomic Energy Commission gave a negative review, and the project was abandoned – leaving a nice little pond and an apt nickname for this stupid plan:

Ended the night with dinner at Lucas Wharf, where we would have had a sunset view if it weren’t so overcast:


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