Filed under Wanderings

The Dancing Men of Puako

The Dancing Men of Puako

Thirty miles north of the tranquil Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park is another hidden gem, the Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve, one of the largest petroglyph fields in Hawaii. Over 3,000 k’i’i pohaku (images in stone) are tucked along the trails of the 233-acre preserve, quite a sight. It all starts modestly enough. From Route 19, enter the manicured Mauna Lani … Continue reading

Gettysburg 150th Anniversary Civil War Battle Reenactment

Gettysburg 150th Anniversary Civil War Battle Reenactment

Costumed demonstrations at El Morro and Mount Vernon aside, I’ve never been to a large-scale reenactment. With Civil War sesquicentennial upon us, we thought we’d go big and head to Gettysburg, where annual battle reenactments have been drawing crowds for the past two decades. July 2013, the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, seemed like … Continue reading

Turtle Tango of Kaloko-Honokōhau

Turtle Tango of Kaloko-Honokōhau

We stumbled on it accidentally on our way to Mauna Kea and its dramatic sunset. A highway sign off Route 19 announced the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park. It didn’t look promising — the Kona side of the Big Island is filled with large hotel developments, and this looked no different from afar, so we almost didn’t … Continue reading

Turtle-spotting at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach

Turtle-spotting at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach

Tucked away along the Big Island’s southeastern tip (Hawaii’s rural Ka’ū District, just off Route 11, between mile markers 55 and 56) is the Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, the most accessible of black sand beaches on the island. The sand really is jet black, remnants of lava shattered as it touched the ocean — you will only … Continue reading

Travel Theme: Connections

Travel Theme: Connections

Ailsa’s travel theme challenge this week is Connections. Here are some of mine: 1. Locking eyes with an osprey at the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve  2. Reliving the past at George Washington’s Mount Vernon 3. Listening to sheep cry out to each other in the fog near Rijsterbos 4. Watching for our destination on the Grand Canyon Railway  … Continue reading

A Mauna Kea Sunset

A Mauna Kea Sunset

When all is said and done, and I look back on my life, I think I will remember that evening: watching the sun set over Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s dormant volcano and the highest point in the Pacific Basin.  At over 13,700 feet (4,200 m) above the sea level, we were giddy from altitude and the view. An ocean … Continue reading

Travel Theme: Deep

Travel Theme: Deep

I have been gone for far too long from this little page of mine. Ailsa’s weekly challenge is here to the rescue: This week’s theme is Deep. Deep like the tunnels of San Cristóbal in Puerto Rico. Down-down they go to the  dungeon, with its walls peeling, grooves for explosives over your head, and–the centerpiece of … Continue reading

Hilo’s Magic: Sacred Stones and Waterfalls

Hilo’s Magic: Sacred Stones and Waterfalls

After soaring over lava, our afternoon in Hilo was a bit of a blur.  I remember the rows of colorful, two-story buildings, frayed, but cheerful, many dating back to the sugar boom of the 1920s; the smell of rain over the pavement; and lots and lots of leaves, primordial in their size and hues. Next … Continue reading

Skygazing at Lick Observatory

Skygazing at Lick Observatory

With the haunting beauty of Point Lobos behind us, we headed north to the Diablo Range and Mount Hamilton, a four-thousand-foot giant overlooking Silicone Valley.  A domed structure crowns the mountain–our destination, Lick Observatory, the oldest mountaintop observatory in the world. Stargazing since 1888, the observatory is a monument to James Lick, an eccentric millionaire who wished to immortalize his … Continue reading

Point Lobos: The Sea Wolves Calling

Point Lobos: The Sea Wolves Calling

If the cozy views of Carmel-by-the-Sea get too saccharine for your taste, head four miles south to witness “the greatest meeting of land and water in the world,” Point Lobos State Reserve, 554 acres of cliffs, meadows, and forest trails and over 700 acres submerged undersea (a scuba diving, snorkeling and kayaking haven, I learned too late). The quote belongs to Francis McComas, … Continue reading

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Welcome to the Shire

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Welcome to the Shire

Our home base on the Monterey Peninsula was Carmel-by-the-Sea, a town so storybook cute I had to remind myself that this was not, after all, a realm of wealthy hobbits. I mean, just look at it: These Epcot-village views aside, the town is a venerable old lady, by American standards. A Carlmelite friar claimed this area … Continue reading

Fins, Wings, and Whiskers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Fins, Wings, and Whiskers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Growing up in a dry, landlocked country, I was spellbound with Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. For months, I was Professor Aronnax, exploring the undersea wonders with Captain Nemo and his submarine, Nautilus. Many of the book’s most memorable discoveries were figments of Verne’s imagination. At the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I was startled to … Continue reading

Happy National Train Day

Happy National Train Day

“Railroad iron is a magician’s rod, in its power to evoke the sleeping energies of land and water.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844) Did you know that 11 May is the National Train Day in the US? Celebrations, big and small, are taking place around the country. Sadly, I can’t go this year, but what a … Continue reading

Taliesin West: Snow over the Desert

Taliesin West: Snow over the Desert

“Living in the Desert is a spiritual cathartic a great many people need. I am one of them.” (Frank Lloyd Wright, 1949) Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s “desert camp,” has been on my must-see list ever since I fell in reluctant, unexpected love with his Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob in Pennsylvania (visit them, if you haven’t yet). … Continue reading