Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Hiking to La`au Point, Part 2

Continuing from last week — I had happened upon an abandoned structure. It appeared to be some sort of pavilion — which meant I had reached the first destination I was seeking — The Beach Village at Moloka`i Ranch. Of course it is now closed, as are all the resort facilities on the Moloka`i Ranch — or perhaps a better description is abandoned. When it was still in use, I guess it was used for meals, snacks, changing, showers, beach concessions, etc.

Now it is a rest station for the few hikers who wander this way. If you look carefully, you can see a couple sitting on a picnic bench in the shade. If I recall correctly, they were from Germany. Can you imagine coming all the way from Germany to sit at a picnic table on the grounds of an abandoned resort on the island of Moloka`i?

The ladies that I met at the beginning of my hike told me that the shower was still working — a pleasant way to cool off after a long dusty hike.

But one of the most curious discoveries is that if you do a Google search on "The Beach Village at Molokai Ranch" you will find reviews and information that suggest that it is still in operation. It shows how long some out-of-date information remains on the Internet.

One of the reasons I wanted to see this abandoned resort was to see these structures which Tom, the owner of the B&B, called "Tent-A-Lows". I had never heard of "Tent-A-Lows" but the name made me think of my baby sister who had her own vocabulary when she was little — tomatoes were "MAY-ta-lows", potatoes were "TAY-ta-lows" and bananas were "NAN-a-lows". Perhaps she suggested the names for these structures.

It's hard to envision them now but they were raised platforms with a framed-in bathroom (both of which you can clearly see in the photo). A tent was erected on the platform to provide a bedroom. I suppose this was intended to give rich people a taste of camping without the dirt and discomfort. I say "rich" because Tom told me (and my Google search confirmed) that the going rate was in the $300-per-night neighborhood — not a neighborhood that I can spend time in. I examined the remains and I must say that the bathrooms were pretty spartan. It is hard to know what the tents must have been like — other than to suggest that verbal privacy was practically nonexistent.

Of course since the entire property has been abandoned, the landscaping has gone to pot. You'll notice that most of the palm trees have no fronds — at least those palm trees around the Tent-A-Lows. There were actually quite of few of these structures — you can get a birds-eye view by viewing the Google satellite image by clicking here.

Well, it is a beautiful spot but time to resume my hike — La`au Point is calling.

Ah, good to see some `Aki`aki stabilizing the sand dunes. I read an article just before departing for Hawai`i that reported that many of the beaches in the islands are losing sand. Perhaps this grass will help prevent erosion here.

And what is this? From a distance it looked like a bag of sand but, in fact, it is a Monk Seal. Signs were posted to remind the few of us on this trail to keep a wide berth from these animals — first because they are endangered and second because they can be aggressive towards humans. So I walked by from a distance, hoping that the noise of my camera would not incite an angry charge at the photographer.

Well, farewell to Kaupoa Beach. In honor of which, I am providing a larger photo in which you can see the Monk Seal in the foreground and the Germans in the background. This is a pretty cool place.

Of course not all the shoreline along this hike is idyllic white sand beaches. Much of it is rocky and not inviting for a swim. But I still find the ocean so hypnotic that I really do not care. I can enjoy it all.

There are a few of these little coves. Ones that you would never see except on a little odyssey such as I was undertaking this day.

And even the rocky spots were fascinating with the interplay with the ocean waves, crashing on the rocks, filling the depressions with seawater then the slow return to the ocean — just to begin the cycle again.

Look what we have here — `opihi or limpets, as they are known outside Hawai`i. `Opihi are single shelled sea animals that cling to rocks in the tide pools. They have long been a staple for the ancient Hawai`ians. In fact, when I lived on Maui in the mid-1980s, I was invited to a family luau (to celebrate a birthday, as I recall) at which `opihi were served. I tried them and enjoyed these little critters. These that I encountered this day are larger than most I have seen in my wanderings about the islands. I guess there are not too many people gathering them here so they can grow to larger sizes.

I will pause our hike on this interesting discovery. I call it the windshield wiper plant. Curiously, the strong and nearly constant winds seem to buffet these plants in such a way that they swing wide in one direction then wide in the opposite direction. In doing so, they scribe a circular path in the sand much like your windshield wiper.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

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