Hello Friends and Family,

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Lana`i: Garden of the Gods

As I left Shipwreck Beach and drove up the hill toward Lana`i City, I looked back to the spectacular view of Maui — with the West Maui Mountains enshrouded in clouds (as usual) and Haleakala in the distance poking its summit above the clouds. I'm sorry but the picture doesn't do it justice — you have to see it in person.

Since I had the Jeep for the full day, I chose Keahikawelo also known as Garden of the Gods as my next destination. This unique spot is located on a dirt road beyond the old pineapple fields. The day I was there, I was told that a movie company was shooting in the area. I saw a few indications that these folks had been there and would be coming back — such as a guard around some of their equipment — he was friendly and after a brief chat I continued my photography.

As you can see, the Garden of the Gods has little vegetation but many rocks strewn about on multicolored soil. A little research offers multiple legends about the origin of this garden. The one that I had heard before was that the rocks were dropped here by the Gods as they tended their gardens.

I loved this rock because of the colorful lichen covering it. Just the kind of rock a Hawai`ian God would have donated to this Earthly garden.

Another legend says that the Gods enjoyed creating art and this spot is where they made their favorite sculptures and richly hued ground.

A third legend is that two kahunas (priests) — one from Lana`i and another from Moloka`i — were challenged to keep a fire burning on their respective island longer than the other. The winner's island would be rewarded with great abundance. The kahuna from Lana`i used every scrap of vegetation in this area in an attempt to keep his fire burning longer — thus the lack of vegetation. I suspect he lost.

Still another legend claims that these rocks house the spirits of ancient Hawai`ian warriors. I think you can see them in these rocks.

This rock looked to me like a singing or chanting quartet. Or is it a giant's toes. Or maybe a turtle.

But can you believe these colors in the soil?

There are even bluish-purple rocks and soil. Certainly, I could use Photoshop to give you such a result — but trust me, this is what they really look like.

It was nearing time to move on when I spotted this mostly dead bush with some form of colorful lichen growing on it. A striking image worthy of the last photo — before continuing on down the dirt road to Polihua Beach. I remembered that the road is very rough and going would be slow. Needless to say, I didn't want to be stuck down there after dark.

The story continues next week.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc.