Thursday, August 18, 2011

Traveling to Distant Lands ...

I was fortunate enough, even in these troubled economic times, to have taken a trip to the Hawaiian Islands recently  [Then again, I have been waiting 13 years to go ...]. After much debate, my significant other and I settled upon visiting just one of the many Hawaiian Islands.  We opted for visiting the Island of Kauai, also known as "The Garden Island."

Kauai is truly breathtaking!  It is truly a beautiful, enchanting and diverse paradise.  It amazed me to experience, firsthand, the diversity of vegetation and climate variations that are packed onto this one tiny little island in the Pacific.  In fact, Kauai just happens to be one of the wettest spots on the planet at its very center.  Yous see a tiny rain-forest resides at the top center of this island. This  rain-forest receives an estimated 500 inches of rainfall each year.  I happened to have the opportunity to take flight right over this rain forest in a helicopter.  From an aerial view, the landscape is a lush expanse of vivid green, littered with intermittent cascades of waterfalls.  Tiny raindrops bounced onto the chopper's windshield and flattened in a magical dance as we explored the cavernous walls of the weeping wall.  This wall shares a common boundary with the harsh expanse of the desert-like Waimea Canyon, lying just on the other side of the ridge-top.  The change in pressure, alone, lifted the chopper effortlessly upwards as we approached the top of the mountain ridge that would lead to the other side of the island, and into the Waimea Canyon area,  As we cleared the tallest peaks of the mountain top, the arid expanse of the dry western side of the island opened out before us.  The sight before me felt almost like an optical illusion --Kind of like a "twilight zone" moment-- as the unfolding landscape quickly made a total 180 deg. change, with the lush and green giving way to a distinct rocky red, with sparse vegetation dotting the now suddenly arid landscape. The chopper pilot got a kick out of everyone's initial reaction to the sudden change in landscape: "Are we still on the same island?" One passenger wondered aloud.

Once we were on the other side of the mountain, the Waimea Canyon began its expansive unfolding before us.  Now, I had already viewed the Canyon on foot, from several different vantage points, in the days just prior to my flight, but I have to honestly say that the view from the air gave this canyon a whole new life and wonder.  From the aerial perspective Waimea Canyon took on such an incredible  sense of grandeur.  That being said, both views --ground and aerial-- of the Waimea Canyon were simply stunning.  In my humble opinion this canyon is a must see if you happen to be visiting the Hawaiian Islands. Waimea Canyon is also supposedly known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific", as many who visit and behold nature's intricate carving of art upon the rich iron red and black lava-speckled land.  I actually heard mixed stories about whether or not this naming can be rightly attributed to Samuel Clemens.  Some stories say Clemens never actually made it onto the island of Kauai and hence never saw the canyon for himself.  Either way, the name "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" is a very fitting title for this magnificent island canyon.

I won't bore you with all the details and facts about this canyon in this entry save to say that the Waimea Canyon is considerably smaller than the Grand Canyon.  Marking a length of a mere 10 miles long and being just over a mile in width at its widest point, the canyon is only 3,600 ft. deep. But when you consider that this canyon resides on a tiny little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you had to admit the latter statistics are rather impressive.  For more detailed information on the Waimea Canyon check out the links at the end of this entry. 

As I said before, I was fortunate to have seen the Waimea Canyon both on foot, from several vantage points, as well as from the air via a helicopter tour of the island.  Both views, however, were most impressive such that I would be hard-pressed to recommend one view over the other.  All views made me feel my insignificant place in the grand scheme of time and life, ever unfolding, on our amazing, rapidly spinning Blue Planet.  I have been carrying around a small leather-bound pocket journal of late, in order to jot down thoughts and ideas as they happen to come and go in my mind --as a hopeful aid to my writing.  Here are some of the thoughts I happened to scribble down when I first beheld this amazing canyon, on the Island tiny little island of Kauai, with my own eyes.

Photo By Me, taken with a new travel sized point-and-shoot.  : )
@Copyright​ed Photo, 2011. All Rights Reserved.

"Waimea Canyon, Summer 2011"

Three rivers forge ...
Collapse into one.
Time worn,
Weaving tapestry
Of earthly deeds.
Nature heeds
No fencing in.

@Copyrighted Poem, 2011. All Rights Reserved: Isabelle Black Smith.

Interesting links on Waimea Canyon:

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