Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Archive for August, 2010

Astronomy People: What Did I see?

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

While taking the dog out for her nightly last night I noticed a “star” madly twinkling, fairly low in the west. It seemed almost to be changing colors, flickering between red and a greenish-white. I watched it for a minute or two, thinking it must be a distant aircraft flying directly away from me, but no, it didn’t go away. Intrigued, I got out my 10×25 field binoculars. They showed what looked like a red point of light flickering around a greenish-white point—very hard to distinguish though, given they were hand-held.

My best guess is I saw a star or planet in near alignment with a more distant star, and the flickering was a result of refraction as it sank lower behind the humid atmosphere. But I’m not good at reading star charts and would appreciate further thoughts.

This was between 10pm and 10:30pm HST, August 18. Approx lat/long 20.90 156.43

Twelve Miles With Hiking Poles

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

A few days ago the husband asked, “Do you want to help me hike supplies into Kapalaoa Cabin for my volunteer service trip?”

Kapalaoa Cabin, aka “The First Cabin” is located in Haleakala National Park, six miles in from Haleakala Crater rim. The trail starts at around 9800’ and descends to 7200’, with most of the descent in the first half of the hike. I’ve hiked in to and out from Kapalaoa Cabin many times, but never on the same day, so I figured, Why not?

It would give me a chance to take some pictures, and to try out the concept of hiking with two hiking poles.

I’ll admit that in my foolish youth I looked down on hiking poles—until a few years ago when a friend loaned me one on a long downhill slog. I was amazed at the difference it made and I’ve often used one since. But I never tried hiking with two poles.

The first thing I found out is that I cannot hike with a pole in each hand and a camera around my neck. I’ll have to look for a chest pack or something, because I can’t stand the camera banging against me. So I put one of the poles away until I got to the last, and roughest, part of the descent. At that point the camera went into the pack and I set out with both poles in hand.

By this time the husband was far ahead, since I’d been stopping to take pictures. So I set out at full speed—and with the help of those two poles I’m fairly sure I set personal records for the last leg of the descent, and for crossing the cinder flats that follow. Walking a trail through dry cinder is like walking through dry sand. The poles proved surprisingly useful in this situation, since they provided a solid point to push off.

We offloaded the supplies, and hiked out with little more than water and snacks in the packs. Overall, the trip went well—and today I have a good excuse not to work out!

Looking Down Sliding Sands Trail From Near the Top

Looking down Sliding Sands Trail from near the top. The trail follows the foot of the crater wall on the right of the photo.

The cinder flats, after the initial steep descent from the crater rim.

The cinder flats, after the initial steep descent from the crater rim. This photo shows bracken fern on either side of the trail, but the fern soon gives way to a barren cinder area.

Kapalaoa Cabin, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

Kapalaoa Cabin, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

Sliding Sands Trail as it descends from the crater rim.

Oh yeah, we have to climb out again! This is a view of Sliding Sands Trail as it ascends to the crater rim.

Draft 3 of The Wild is Done

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Just over a year ago I announced that I wasn’t satisfied with the responses I was getting from readers on my novel-in-progress The Wild, so I was going to undertake yet another revision, primarily of the story opening. Later in the year I talked about the butterfly effect and writing—how the partial revision I’d originally envisioned had turned into a complete re-write of the entire manuscript.

The re-write turned out to be a stuttering, sputtering process, with periods of productivity interrupted by long periods of nothing much getting done. But late in the game things finally started to click. I was suddenly immersed in the process, and completely neglected my other projects, with the happy result that Draft 3 was finally finished yesterday.


The next step is to send it to a few test readers, to see what sort of reaction it gets. I’ll confess I’m nervous. The last two drafts didn’t fare too well. Let’s hope this one does better!

In the meantime, I get to start something new.