Hello Friends and Family,

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Hiking to Kawakiu Bay, Part 1

My last day on Moloka`i had arrived and I decided to hike north from the now-closed resort — going further than I had gone the previous year. That hike had been cut short by darkness — today I got an earlier start. Early on, I encountered this interesting old tree that looked like Mother Nature had used a paint brush to color the bark. However, it was actually lichen, an encounter which continued to fuel my fascination with this unique symbiotic plant/fungus.

Nearby, I encountered a dead tree that reminded me of a Komodo dragon. In B&W, the lichen resembles the rough hide of these lizards albeit perhaps during a time of shedding old skin with new skin being revealed underneath.

You'll recall a few weeks ago, I mentioned the vicious thorns on the keawe trees. Well, here they are up close and personal. There were very much a part of this hike — especially in places where I could not find a trail and had to walk between the keawe branches — trying to be very careful not to get scratched on my arms and legs but especially around my eyes.

One of the reasons for this particular hike was that I was told there there are a couple of heiaus (ancient Hawai`ian temples) in the area. This pile of rocks was in the general area where I expected to find one of them. I was a bit perplexed by the pole standing in the middle of the rocks. Was it that old or had some ranch hand placed it there in more recent times? Or perhaps this was not the heiau but just a pile of rocks when the land was cleared for ranching. Hard to know.

There certainly is lots of decaying evidence of that earlier ranching activity — here a barbed-wire fence.

Nearby I encountered a wire fence with no barbs but this curious spacer mechanism. I am obviously not a rancher but my guess was that the fence may have been electrified at one point and the spacer was just to keep the wires straight so as not to allow the cattle to sneak through a large opening between the wires. I doubted that the fence was still "hot" but decided not to check it out personally.

There is even the remnant of an old dirt road along the fence that runs all the way to an overlook by the ocean.

Wow, some more interesting lichen. I hope you'll indulge me — as I mentioned earlier in my Moloka`i musings, I find this stuff so fascinating.

This variety is almost leaf-like and surrounded by an orange speckled variety.

These patches caught my eye because they looked like a map of islands. Or is it a bear? Or even Mickey Mouse?

One variety on top and a different on the bottom. Interesting.

Then all of sudden I reached the end of the fence-line dirt road, looking down on Kawakiu Bay. Spectacular sight. The only evidence of human activity is a distant building on the far side of the bay. I was told this was a former military reserve — as I recall a radio or radar facility, probably from WW2 days.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com