Monday, March 26, 2007

More Maui Pictures Than You Can Stand

This is my favorite picture I took in Maui. I took it in the Valley of Iao; a Google search informs me that this plant is known as the "Swiss Cheese Plant" (Monstera deliciosa), although it must have a more dignified name. The design shows up on lots of Hawaiian shirts. Pretty cool looking, yes?

I'll show the other pictures as small thumbnails, which you can click to enlarge.

Da Beach, Da Beach!

Here's the pretty little beach across the street from where we were staying. Off to the right, you can see the cloud-covered West Maui mountain; most days, the two mountains (this one and Haleakela) were either cloud-covered from the get-go or became that way by midday.

The beach was very clean, with gentle waves and a soft, sandy bottom. And I found the water deliciously warm, although it was often a bit too chilly for Gary. (Water temperature is the only thing I'm braver about than he is!) We're hoping to go back sometime in August, when the water will be really warm. The whales won't be there then, but the sea turtles will be.

Here's the beach looking in the other direction, with Realio Trulio Palm Trees in the distance. We took these pictures early in the morning: the beach was usually a little more crowded than this, although we tried to swim early to minimize sun exposure. We worked aggressively not to tan, smearing SPF 50 all over ourselves at every opportunity.

And here's my honey, smiling in the sunshine. He took a bunch of photos of me, but all of them turned out dismally -- making me look either profoundly pregnant or unsettlingly gorked-out -- so I'm not posting any of those.

I used to be more photogenic when I was young. Ah, well.

The Valley of Iao

As I've mentioned before, Gary and I call the Valley of Iao the Valley of Meow, and here you see why. The day we went, the valley was quite rainy, and only two or three kitties had come out to pose for photos. The first time we were there, last year, the place was swarming with cats. They're cared for by volunteers and by the Humane Society, but most of them are pretty feral: they'll pose for pictures, but petting's out of the question.

This little cat looks a bit like Belphoebe, whose death Gary and I were mourning the first time we visited the valley. We'd had to have her euthanized a year to the day before that first visit, and we hadn't expected to see cats, so coming across the colony felt like stumbling into cat heaven. It was a healing synchronicity.

Phoebe was white with brown spots, rather than orange ones. Still, seeing this cat made me remember her.

"Cats!" I hear you grumbling. "They went to Hawaii and took pictures of cats?" (Hey, at least we didn't get any shots of the feral mother with two kittens who lurked around our resort!) But it's true that the Valley of Iao is most famous not for its many cats, but for its singular needle, a botanical spire towering above the valley. Gary took this shot; I took others, but they don't show the scale as well. To the left, you can see the shingled roof of a lookout area at the top of the trail we'd just climbed.

Elsewhere in the world of botany, I was intrigued by this tree trunk with a new plant growing out of it.

I tried to take other botanical pictures, especially of fascinating, twisted tree roots that looked like something straight out of Tolkien's Old Forest, but I didn't have much luck with those shots.

Great Blooming Hibiscus, Batman!

I was more successful with plain old flowers. This one was on the sidewalk bordering our resort, but there are flowers almost everywhere you look on Maui. Last year we saw a delicate purple and aqua flower, called a jade plant I believe, that was one of the prettiest things I've ever seen. We were told that they can't be brought to the mainland because they harbor pests that could be dangerous to mainland crops. We wanted to find some to photograph this year, but didn't see any.

So we had to settle for ordinary colors like yellow and orange. This group of flowers was in the Valley of Iao, I believe. I think they're some kind of lily, although I'm hopeless at recognizing plants.

Oh, Lee had asked about leis: no, we didn't get any. It always makes me sad to think that the flowers hanging around people's necks will die; I prefer looking at them in their natural environment.

This was a very pretty plant we saw in upcountry Maui, where we'd gone to a winery. Gary and our friends Katharine, Jim and Maggi sampled the wine; I tried out samples of various lotions, and wound up buying a wonderful lavender body butter. It will be great for keeping my skin moisturized in our brutally dry Nevada air, and will be a lasting and soothing reminder of Maui.

These vines, growing on a trellis, were also at the winery. The pink looks good enough to eat, doesn't it? There was a tree with vivid purple blossoms we saw several places, and now I wish we'd gotten a photo of it, but we were always in the car when we saw it, on our way to somewhere else. The purple didn't look real: it was so rich and deep that I kept thinking it must be a special effect.

Rainforest Waterfalls, with Warning Sign

Gary took this shot on our way up -- or maybe down -- the rainforest trail where we walked through the magical bamboo grove. We didn't try to get photos of that, because the light was too dim. This was in the state park containing the Seven Sacred Pools of Hana, although I believe that at this point, we were above those pools. All of the pools had copious signage warning people about the dangers of jumping into them ("Submerged Rocks May Cause Injury or Death"), although that's not something we'd have been tempted to do anyway.

Gary did get a shot of the warning sign at the foot of Wailea Falls, the two-hundred-foot waterfall we hiked two miles each way to see. It was very impressive, but at that point I'd seen enough other waterfalls that it wasn't the high point of the hike. The high point was the bamboo groves, which will have to remain in memory only.

And there you have it. Isn't blogging wonderful? You can scroll very quickly through people's vacation slideshows, or skip them entirely, instead of being subjected to them in real time!


  1. Welcome back, Susan! The photos are lovely. Thanks for posting them. My favorites are the long haired cat and the view of the botanical spire. Are there any more to come?

    Peace & Joy!

  2. "There was a tree with vivid purple blossoms"


  3. Lee: Probably no more to come; we took a bunch more, but don't like them as well. If our friends share theirs, maybe we'll post those.

    Tiel: Nope, not jacaranda; the branches didn't spread out that much, and the purple was deeper. Gary pointed out last night that one of the vivid purples we saw was definitely bougainvillea, but that's a shrub, and this was a tree.


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