Archive for the 'Maui' Category
A few years ago my husband, Ron Nagata, retired from his position as Chief of Resources Management at Haleakala National Park here on Maui, but he still works at the park as a volunteer. One of his ongoing projects is invasive weed control from Haleakala’s summit to Kapalaoa Cabin. Over the weekend he and I participated in a periodic service trip, aimed at knocking back the population of two target weeds. It was a fantastic weekend, with unusual weather–colder than expected for this time of year.
On the six-mile hike in, we enjoyed a constantly changing panorama of mist rolling just above the slopes and between the cinder cones. Over the last couple of miles we were spattered by a very light rain. We reached the cabin, rested a bit, and went out again into a cold afternoon to start working. Before long a dribbling rain started to fall, but slowly enough that we stayed out until evening.
The next day started off clear, but the mist and fog soon returned. We worked until mid-afternoon and then returned to the cabin for a late lunch–just before the rain arrived in earnest. It rained hard until after nightfall, so that ended our working day…I’ll admit I wasn’t complaining, because I was tired.
On Monday morning we worked for a couple of hours and then set off through the spectacular central crater scenery on our hike out.
I grew up on Oahu’s north shore, living in a rented house that was right on the beach. I know it sounds idyllic, though someday I should tell you about all the disadvantages of living on the beach. Anyway, I did spend a lot of time in the water as a kid, snorkeling and swimming for hours on end.
These days, the only time I go to the beach is when my nephews come to visit. On past visits they’ve scoped out the main options for beach-going and the one beach they love best is Oneloa at Makena. Here’s a photo from last year:
I think this is one of the most beautiful beaches anywhere, but my nephews like it because most of the time it has waves of size, even in the summer. The problem with Oneloa is that the underwater landscape drops off suddenly and steeply. I can be wading in chest-deep water and, with one more step, I suddenly can’t touch bottom. This creates waves that break suddenly, with crests that slam hard onto the sand. The warning sign does not exaggerate. Even when the waves are only a few feet high, the force is thunderous. Being the cheerful sort, I call these waves “back breakers.”
The first day we went to Oneloa, the waves were big enough to be worrisome, but the guys were smart enough to wait out the big sets in deeper water and no one got hurt. The second day the waves were smaller and a lot of fun. The third day the waves were tiny — hardly worth bothering with!
But now beach week is over for another year. My nephews are heading home and I’ve got a list of tasks to complete before getting on a plane myself. At the end of the week I’m heading off to a couple of workshops, both of them writing related, and I hope to be blogging as I travel.
Despite power failures, fire, and dying tech, it’s been a pretty decent week.
The power has gone out three times this week, which I suspect is a record. None of the incidents lasted very long — probably not more than an hour — but in this modern age, it’s very frustrating. The electrical system in our district still uses transformers — those cylindrical containers at the top of utility poles. I’m told these are old tech, but honestly I don’t know anything about it. At any rate, they blow up frequently, and it’s possible that one caused a small forest fire not very far from where I live, along a road where we often go walking. On Monday, a day of crazily gusting winds, one of the residents reported hearing a transformer blow, and not long after noticed the fire, which occurred in a heavily wooded area among homes. Maui Fire Department responded in force, with multiple engines and helicopter water drops that went on all afternoon. It was an impressive effort and only three homes suffered damage, all of it minor.
The next day it rained. It’s actually rained several days in mid-June, which is rare and for which we are grateful. This past winter was extremely dry, so no one here is complaining about rainy summer days.
And the reason I was in town on Monday? I finally decided to replace my old Mac desktop with a shiny new one. It took me a few days to “move in” to the new computer and there were definitely frustrating moments. It became obvious that I should have upgraded my old operating system long ago, because the version I had was too primitive to take advantage of the migration features. But it’s done, and at this point I’m asking myself why I waited so long.
Oh, and the writing? That’s been going surprisingly well. The word count on novel-in-progress #2 is building faster than I’m used to — and come to think of it, I should probably get started on today’s writing session.
Borders had a superstore in a our little northshore town of Kahului. Whether this store sold a lot of books or not, I don’t know, but it was a very popular place, always full of people. It stayed open until fairly late in the Borders death cycle, but ultimately it was closed and emptied.
At the time, there were no other bookstores on this side of the island and so far as I know, there are still no other bookstores. The only bookstore I’m aware of on the island is a smallish Barnes & Noble way off in West Maui.
But the space that Borders occupied in the Maui Marketplace mall has finally been taken over. Sports Authority, which long occupied the storefront next door, has knocked down the intervening wall and doubled its floor space.
Don’t get me wrong–Sports Authority is a great store, and I shop there all the time. But it’s ironic that a sports equipment and clothing store should replace the last bookstore on the northshore. I suppose if there were much community demand, an entrepreneur would have already started an independent brick & mortar store here. But so far as I know, it isn’t happening.
I was moved to write this post in reaction to an article cited over at Andrew Sullivan’s blog. The original article is called Clean Up Your Fitness Routine: The Case Against Gyms. Here’s the infamous quote:
Gyms are energy-sucking, disease-riddled, crowded, and often expensive. It’s an industry that exists because people pay a lot of money for the privilege of not meeting their personal health goals.
Energy sucking? Meaning, you’ve exercised so you’ve burned some energy? Uh, this is a feature, not a bug.
Disease riddled? Hmm—been to the mall lately? A movie theater? I’m going to play the mom here for a moment and tell you one of the best ways to avoid picking up random cold germs is to never touch your face (eyes, mouth, nose) if you haven’t just washed your hands with soap. I’m serious. Huge difference.
Expensive? I pay $33 and change per month at 24 Hour Fitness, on a month-to-month contract (my advice: don’t sign long-term gym contracts). If you’re paying thousands of dollars a year, as one respondent complained, find a different gym! You don’t need fancy. Come work out with us hoi polloi. We’re really not that bad.
Condescending gym rats: this was another complaint lodged by a respondent, and I have to say, give me a break! I don’t know about your gym, but at our gym we have an amazingly wide spectrum of people that includes polished, silver-haired executives, middle-aged women facing up to years of physical neglect, pods of steroid boys (they rarely seem to work out alone), the elderly, the seriously overweight of all ages, beautiful young men and women, and occasional youngsters. I do not see people getting harassed. I have never been harassed.
I’m out on the floor all the time, where the gender ratios are maybe 80/20 men to women. (Women seem to prefer the classes.) There are no issues. People are extremely polite. Sometimes a guy will be leaning on a machine, watching his buddy take a turn at another device. He’ll move immediately if I ask him. Sometimes someone who doesn’t know the rules will leave too many hundred-pound discs on a leg press. I just ask the nearest strong guy to move them for me. They’re always happy to help.
And every time I’m at the gym door at the same time as a man, he will open the door for me. Young guys, old guys, it doesn’t matter. I never cease to be impressed.
So if your gym is full of snobs or misogynists, find a different gym! And tell management why you’re leaving.
You might be wondering why anyone would bother going to a gym when they live on Maui. Why not just exercise outside? Well I do, part of the time. I jog the road. But I live on the side of a mountain. Everything is either uphill or downhill, so it’s hard. And unless I go outside very early or very late, it’s hot. And there’s traffic. Also there are no weight machines outdoors, and resistance training is a huge boon to fitness, especially as we age and lose muscle mass.
One great thing about a gym is that it has the power of place. When I walk into the gym, I’m there for one reason and one reason only, so it’s much easier to focus on a workout than it would be if I were using a weight machine at home.
The worst thing about the gym for me is that it’s a half-hour drive to get there, and with the price of gas these days, the round trip costs around $10. So I only go once or twice a week, when we’re going to town for other reasons, but I continue to pay my monthly membership fee, because the results are worth it to me.
Physical fitness should be encouraged. If the gym doesn’t work for you, that’s okay, find another way. But for many of us, gyms remain a great place to get, and stay, in shape.
Yes, of course. I sit down to a brainstorming session, determined to write for ten whole minutes without stopping, to see what sort of ideas might pour forth. I even set my alarm.
Five minutes later I hear a pheasant squawking almost right outside my window. Naturally, I just have to go and look.
Ring-necked pheasants are common in the pastures in Kula, where I live, but they don’t visit the neighborhood around our house. There was once a Kalij pheasant that hung out in our neighborhood for a few days, but never the more common ringneck — until today.
I’ve been trying to get a pheasant photo for two years, so I grabbed my camera and, moving with great caution, I leaned out the door and started shooting. Okay, so it’s not great photography, but a pheasant standing on a chainlink fence? That’s got to be an unusual pose.
On the edge of Kahului, Maui’s main town, is a wetland wildlife refuge known as Kanaha Pond. There are always birds to be seen there, but today and yesterday there were a lot of birds–more than I’ve seen before. Many were Hawaiian stilts, ae`o in Hawaiian, an endangered species. The others that were flocking were (I think) ruddy turnstone (akeke) I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures this evening, despite the failing light.
This is a shot of one peak of the West Maui Mountains…snapped from the car window while looking for parking at Costco. How mundane is that? But Costco is just a couple hundred yards from Kanaha Pond.
It’s Christmas Eve here on Maui. Our upcountry district of Kula has enjoyed a brilliant, sunny day, but this being an island, the weather can vary a lot over a short distance. We drove a few miles around the mountain to Makawao, and it was pouring. We went down to the coast, and from the condition of the streets, it was easy to see we’d just missed a downpour there. And now we’re back home in Kula and the sun is still shining…of course, we could use the rain!
In the category of “odd regional habits” I’ve taken to giving the driveway a quick glance to make sure it’s clear of chameleons before backing the car out. I think we’ve only ever run over one in the driveway, but one was more than enough.
These are Jackson’s chameleons. Like most everything else commonly seen in Hawaii, they’re not native to the islands, but were brought in as pets and then escaped or were released. They started showing up in our neighborhood maybe fifteen years ago and they’re quite common now.
Usually they’re in the shrubbery or up in the trees, but now and then they come down and stagger across the driveway with a rather comical gait. Once, we even found a confused looking individual clinging to the back tire of the car.
The males are like mini-Triceratops, with three horns. Females are horns-free. They’re fascinating animals to watch, with their prehensile tales and their long sticky tongues. They’re mostly green as adults, but they’ll sometimes turn a darker color when feeling stressed. The babies are a brown color, like the little one in the photo below:
They get to be four to six inches long, not counting the tail. That’s big for us. Our other reptiles are little skinks, geckos, and anoles, all quite small.