San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Hawaii Is A Mixed Bag

The first time I went to Hawaii I came back with a ringing endorsement.  After my second trip I have changed my opinion about the place.  There are some things that are good about the state but there are many things that are bad about it as well.  For example, my wife says that I have been far too pessimistic in the series of blog posts I have written this week primarily because I have ignored the primary reason people visit Hawaii.  According to her, and I suspect she is right once again, the main reason folks visit Hawaii is to play in the water.  Now I have an agreement with large bodies of water.  I agree not to go into them and they agree to let me live.  Being Welsh I have a natural aversion to water.  My wife is also mostly Welsh but she also has some Gypsy in her so she swims like a fish.  That means when we went to Hawaii she spent a lot of time in the water.
During our two week trip my wife went on twelve scuba dives over a six day period.  She saw some of the most beautiful sights she has ever seen on those trips.  Her last two dives in particular were memorable.  Her penultimate dive allowed her to swim with a shark.  Her final dive was a night dive in which she was surrounded by 24 gigantic manta rays as they were engaged in their nightly plankton feeding.  They came so close to her she had to continually duck to keep from being hit in the head.  She said it was one of the most magnificent experiences of her life and I believe her.  I conclude that Hawaii can give aficionados of the water some amazing experiences.
On the other hand, take the issue of smoking. Hawaii has turned into a perfect home for smoke Nazis.  While dining one evening our waitress suddenly stopped taking our order and lifted her nose to the air.  She had detected 2 parts per billion of cigarette smoke and she was out to get the offender.  New laws have been enacted in Hawaii since I was last there about smoking.  Under the old rules smoking was permitted on all of Hawaii's public beaches.  Most all of Hawaii's beaches are public so smokers had plenty of places to smoke.  That has all changed.  Smoking is now illegal everywhere except in designated "smoking permitted" zones.  There are hundreds of these zones in the resort areas, scattered about randomly among the high rent properties found there.  Rather than allowing smoking on the beach, where the sea breezes rapidly dissipated the smoke, smokers are now found throughout the property, pumping toxic cigarette smoke into the air, causing cancer, killing children and just being general nuisances.  Thank you Hawaii legislators for another stupid and senseless law that accomplishes nothing.
Hawaii still has great natural beauty.  Neither Yuppies nor career politicians are able to destroy that.  I mentioned the loop hike we took in Volcanoes NP in an earlier post.  Here is a shot of a flower growing from the floor of the Iki crater that we crossed on the last part of our loop.

After we crossed the crater, the trail crossing it is visible below, we climbed up to the crater rim and hiked through the jungle back to our car.  This shot looks back at what we had completed, through the light rain that fell the entire time.

Upon our arrival in Maui we decided to go for a desert hike on the west side of the island.  The Lahina Pali trail is a favorite of mine.  Here is a shot taken from the Lahina Pali trail looking towards Haleakala, which is hidden in the clouds across the way.

I also mentioned the Waihee Ridge trail in an earlier post.  Here is a shot into the jungle taken from along that trail.

I wrote previously about how the Waihee Ridge trail has been discovered by the Yuppies.  This shot is of the parking lot where the trail head is now found.  With the exception of the car we rented, all of the other cars were being operated by neon-shoed Yuppies wearing UnderArmor clothing.

Hawaii's trespassing laws are a mess.  While my wife was swimming with the sharks I was searching out trails to hike.  Time after time I ran into a sign informing me that I needed to turn around.  The photo below is indicative of what I am talking about.  At one point I got so frustrated I thought I would just simply stop hiking.  Then I met a native Hawaiian who informed me that the locals ignore all the no trespassing signs.  He told me that they really mean no camping but everyone is free to trespass provided they leave the area at night.  That seemed odd to me but I decided to do as the natives do so I started ignoring the signs.

The Waipio Ridge trail is posted with a no trespassing sign.  This gate blocked access to the trail.  I climbed over the gate anyway.  As I was doing so the property owner came up to me and asked me if I had gone to school.  I informed her that I had.  She followed that question up with what part of "no trespassing" I did not understand.  I attempted to explain the Hawaiian rules about no trespassing signs to her but she would have none of it.  I ended up paying her a $10 trespass fee to cross her property.  She was then my best friend, wishing me a "blessed day" as we parted.

After I crossed the aforementioned lady's property I ran into this government sign informing me the Waipio Ridge trail was also closed.  Naturally I ignored it.  I hopped over the fence and continued on my way.  After I got home I checked the internet about this trail and was surprised to discover that the State of Hawaii had officially closed the trail because of an earthquake that had occurred there eight years earlier.  The trail was well used and I saw two other groups of three people while I was on it but the official policy is that it is closed. The saga of Hawaiian rules on trespassing continues.

While on the Waipio Ridge trail I took a moment to photograph this flower.  It is one of my favorite Hawaiian flowers but I have no idea what it is.

The Waipio Ridge trail is a beautiful jungle trail.  Here is a shot from the trail peering into the mist enshrouded jungle.  I presumed I would be lost within minutes if I ventured from the trail.  Fortunately the trail was not hard to find.

The payoff on the Waipio Ridge trail is this view into the Waipio valley.  The Waipio valley is reputed to be the most magnificent jungle valley on the Big Island.  Native peoples live there according to the old ways and do not take favorably to hoeles making an appearance on their homelands.  I stayed way above the valley and enjoyed the view from the rim.

No trip to the Big Island is complete without a trip to Mauna Kea.  Mauna Kea is the highest peak in Hawaii, at almost 13,800 feet in elevation.  There is a road almost to the very top that services the astronomical observatories that peer into the heavens at night from their light free outpost.  There is also a trail to the top that I hope to do someday.  What got my attention about this sign, posted at the visitor center at the bottom of the mountain, was the "Beware of Invisible Cows" warning.    I knew Hawaii was a unique place but I had no idea it had invisible cows!

National Park Service Employees Destroy The Big Island

After spending a frustrating week on Maui last month we departed that island for the Big Island of Hawaii.  The best thing about Maui was the flight leaving it.  I had booked us on a small single engine airplane that accommodated a maximum of eight passengers.  After squeezing into the two front seats we were treated to an aerial view of the north shore of Maui and the western shore of the Big Island.  We arrived in Kona after a forty five minute flight hoping to find some respite from government oppression and Yuppies in our new environment.  Man were we in for a surprise.
The Big Island has also been discovered by the Yuppies.  The Kona coast is particularly infested with them.   The Big Island plays host to the annual Iron Man Triathlon.  It had taken place the week prior to our arrival.  All of the contestants had left the island to go home to whatever it is they do when they are not training for triathlons, leaving behind their Yuppie list-checkers who felt compelled to at least attempt to perform some of the athletic feats done by the participants in the Iron Man.  As a result, the main coastal highway in Kona was filled with Yuppies riding their bicycles up and down the coast in a vain attempt to give themselves some sense of personal significance because they managed to complete a 30 mile bike ride in howling winds with high humidity and some heat.  We did our best to ignore them.
The Big Island also sports a federally funded national park.  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park makes up a large part of the island.  We decided, despite my earlier vows to never enter another national park, to spend a day there.  I knew I was breaking a vow by deciding to visit the park but I also knew it would be my only realistic opportunity to view an active volcano close up.  So the decision was made and we scheduled a day for our visit.
It took several hours to make the drive from Kona to the park.  The drive was along the southern coast of the island and in a relatively underpopulated area characterized by coffee plants and macadamia nut trees.  We enjoyed that part of the trip.  Arriving at the entrance station to the park we paid our $20 trespass fee, once again (see yesterday's blog post for the reference) being informed that "this is good for seven days," and proceeded to the visitor center where we picked up a park map.  We immediately learned that we would not be able to drive the entire circuit of the Crater Rim Drive because Kilauea was erupting and the poisonous gases flowing westward had forced the closure of the road at the point they crossed the road.  Nevertheless, we were assured that the view of the interior of the crater was quite spectacular from the Jagger Museum lookout.  That sounded good to me and I especially liked the idea of listening to music from the Rolling Stones while viewing the crater.  Maybe this trip would not be so bad after all.
Truth be told, the trip was not that bad.  Despite learning that the Jagger Museum was not what I expected it to be, we were able to view the lava fountains in the bottom of the crater and, although I would not describe it as spectacular, it was an enjoyable and unique experience.  In addition to that we were also able to complete the Kilauea Iki loop trail which took us through the bottom of the volcano next to Kilauea that was last active in 1959.  Steam vents were still active along the way and part of the loop hike was through the dense jungle along the rim of the crater.  We completed the hike in a gentle rain and pronounced our visit a success.  So, why am I making the claim that the National Park Service is destroying the Big Island?  Allow me to explain why I believe that to be true.
The park brochure we picked up at the visitor center was like all national park brochures.  It was filled with environmental nonsense, evolutionary propaganda and exhortations to worship government employees and the civil government they adore.  Here is a sample of what the brochure contained:
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park shows the results of 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution in the Hawaiian Island-Emperor Seamount chain.  These processes first thrusted a bare land from the sea and then clothed it with complex, unique ecosystems and a distinct human culture.
  • Hundreds of species of plants and animals found their way across the vast Pacific on wind, water, and the wings of birds.  A few survived, adapted, and prospered during this time of isolation.  The arrival of humans -- first Polynesians, then Europeans -- and the plants and animals they brought drastically altered this evolutionary showcase, this grand natural experiment.  
  • Over a span of 32 million years, plants and animals colonized the Hawaiian Island chain, at a rate of one insect every 68,000 years, one plant every 98,000 years and one bird every one million years....The diversity of life that came to flourish on these isolated, once barren islands bears witness to the force of evolution and the tenacity of life.  
  • The Hawaiian Archipelago, once celebrated as islands of evolution, are now islands of extinction.  The arrival of people changed the conditions that fostered the original diversity of life.  As land was cleared to plant crops and build communities, forests vanished.  Polynesian and other settlers introduced invasive plants and animals, and some thrived and multiplied in their new home.  The impact has been catastrophic.  
  • (The brochure then goes on to describe the three types of species that exist on the islands.  Here is the description.)  Endemic:  Unique to Hawaii, found no place else on Earth.  Indigenous:  Naturally occurring in Hawaii but also found elsewhere.  Invasive:  Introduced by humans.
I trust you have already figured out the massive contradiction that is inherent in all evolutionary beliefs and on full display in this piece of propaganda.  If not, let's consider what is written in the brochure in a bit more detail.
According to the government employees who operate the park, evolution is a deity that was conducting a "grand natural experiment" in Hawaii.  The "arrival of humans drastically altered this evolutionary showcase" and brought the experiment to a screeching halt.  How the process of evolution, which evolutionary doctrine claims is entirely random and in continuous operation, can have a will and be able to complete complex teleological tasks is not described.   The teleological error is found in all evolutionary doctrine.  Believers in evolution always attribute purpose and consciousness to their deity despite the fact they profess to believe the process is entirely random and purposeless.
How in the world can anyone make a confident assertion about the rate of plant and animal implantation when those implantations allegedly took place tens of millions of years ago?  Only a religious faith of grandiose proportions can make the leap of faith necessary to believe the comments recorded in the brochure about how purposeless evolution somehow "colonized the Hawaiian Island chain."  How seeds falling out of hurricanes can be attributed the property of being able to colonize a land mass is not defined.
We now come to the heart of the religious belief of evolutionists.  They hate mankind, even though all evolutionists universally agree that mankind is a by-product of their beloved process of evolution.  It makes no sense and it is an utter contradiction but it is true.  If man is a product of evolution, and he is, and if man has been able to adapt and survive, which he has, then there can be no moral terminology associated with what man has done anymore than one can hold a grass seed morally accountable for sprouting on a piece of lava.  Nevertheless, God-hating evolutionists hate mankind with such a passion they immediately trumpet moral claims about the evil nature of man as he modifies his environment for his own benefit.  Rather than praising him for his evolutionary development he is demonized for harming some unspecified previously evolved state of nature.  Man arrived on Hawaii and the "impact has been catastrophic."  That pretty much sums it up.
How does it not occur to the religious zealots who profess to believe in evolution that the Hawaiian Islands were originally nothing but a pile of volcanic rock?  Why is the first grass seed morally good but the first human morally bad?  Notice the definition of species for the island found in the brochure.  Everything that arrived on the islands that was not brought by man is good but everything brought my man is "invasive" and must be eradicated.  To accomplish the goal of eradicating all species brought by men to the Big Island, the National Park Service is spending taxpayer dollars to eradicate the things they don't like.  The brochure informed me that, "crews build fences to keep out feral animals, track and kill feral pigs, and destroy faya, guava, and kahili ginger.  As native plant communities establish themselves again, the populations of Hawaiian honeycreepers, nene, Kamehameha butterflies, and happyface spiders may flourish."
I am happy that the spiders in Hawaii now have happy faces but I must question the wisdom of the National Park Service employees who have declared themselves to be god and are now waging a taxpayer financed war against species they have randomly labeled invasive and worthy of death.  Does not evolution teach us that the principle of the survival of the fittest determines who shall live and who shall die?  I would submit for all of you who are religiously devoted to the doctrines of evolution that man is the fittest species in the world and anything man chooses to do, provided it is not financed by the taxpayers, is good.  It therefore necessarily follows that the employees of the National Park Service are immorally destroying a good part of the Big Island.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Government Employees Destroy Maui

I spent a week in Maui last month.  I would strongly discourage everyone from ever visiting Maui.  The place is a disaster. Why, you might ask?  Because the government employees who live and work there have destroyed it.  Let me explain.
Haleakala National Park is a part of the National Park Service of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  You may be aware that, like all government employees, the vile people who populate the NPS constantly complain about being overworked and underpaid.  Tired of merely complaining about their alleged injustices they have decided to take matters into their own hands.  Many national parks have drastically cut back on services, closing parts of their parks, closing campgrounds and cutting back on staffing.  This is all being done to anger the citizens of this country who visit the parks in the hope that they will then vote for career politicians who promise to raise taxes on "the rich" in order to give the overpaid park service employees more money.
I visited Haleakala NP while I was in Maui.  Perhaps you have been there.  The park consists of the giant (over 10,000 feet high) dormant volcano named Haleakala, or "House of the Sun" in Hawaiian.  A road runs all the way to the top of the mountain where a huge caldera presents itself.  Visitors are free to hike into the heart of the caldera and there are numerous trails of varying lengths that will satisfy even the most dedicated hiking enthusiast.  For the majority of the visitors, who are inclined to stay close to their cars, the opportunity to take the short walk of approximately 100 steps to the monument at the high point of the volcano is usually sufficient exercise.
We arrived at the Visitor Center at the entrance to the park in a cold, steady rain.  We had paid our $20 trespass fee to get in which the person at the entrance station cheerfully informed me was good for seven days.  I wondered....has anyone ever gone back to a national park for more than one day?  I believe they use the "seven day" chant to diffuse the anger that wells up in the hearts of visitors at being forced to pay $20 to enter a park that ostensibly belongs to them.  As I paid the trespass fee, credit cards only, no cash, I was informed that the lower visitor center was open only until noon and the upper visitor center was closed all day.  Why, I asked, were the visitor centers closed?  I was informed that they were "understaffed" and could not keep them open.
The lady at the entrance station who told me they were understaffed had two other rangers behind her in the booth.  They were drinking coffee and eating donuts while talking happily with each other.  Neither appeared to be doing any work.  I wondered......why did it take three people to operate an entrance station when the park was understaffed?  I assumed that I just did not know enough about national park management to understand.  We drove up the road a short distance and stopped at the lower visitor center.  A tour bus had just arrived and many tourists were rushing through the rain to get inside.  Inside I found a counter with three people behind it.  Two of them were eating donuts and drinking coffee while cheerfully talking to each other.  A third was manning the desk and grunting out monosyllabic answers to the various questions and requests being made the the tourists.  I could see that it was going to take me hours to get to the front of the line and then I would only be ignored.  I ran back to my car through the rain.  We drove to the top in a heavy rain.  Once to the summit we turned around and drove back down, vowing once again to never visit another national park.  Why six rangers were incapable of staffing two visitor centers and an entrance station was never explained.  Why only two of the six rangers in an understaffed national park were actually working was never understood by us.
A day or two later we headed out to visit the Iao Needle State Park.  This park is in the north island of Maui and has a jungle environment.  I had visited there on my previous trip to Maui and had a wonderful jungle hike into the heart of the volcanic crater that makes up the northern part of the island.  I was hoping to have the same experience with my wife on that day.  Little did I know what was soon to come.  As we drove up the road towards the park we encountered an electronic sign flashing the message that the road ahead was closed to all but local traffic.  It had rained hard the night before and I thought there might be some flooding issues so I parked the car and walked up to the sign to talk to the cop who was parked a hundred yards behind it.  That was when I committed my first crime that day.
As I approached the barricade the cop, who was sitting in his car eating donuts and drinking coffee, jumped out of his car and literally ran up the road yelling at me to stop and turn around.  He was using that abusive formal type of speech that is so characteristic of cops.  He kept addressing me as "sir" but the tone of his voice really meant he thought I was a disobedient criminal.  "Sir, you must stop and turn around now," he said excitedly.  I stopped but I did not turn around.  He was soon beside me and he reiterated his command that I get back on the other side of the barricade.  He emphasized the significance of my crime by saying, "Sir, you are in a very dangerous place, please get back behind the sign!"  Why or how that part of the road was very dangerous he did not say.
As we walked back up the road to the barricade I asked him why the road was closed.  He told me it was because it had been flooded.  I asked him if it would be open in the near future as we hoped to be able to visit the park.  At that point he sarcastically informed me that, "if you plan on being here for two years you will be able to visit the park then."  At that point I was so angry at having to suffer the verbal abuse of a gun-toting thug on the government payroll I just walked away, fuming all the way back to my car.  As it turned out I later discovered that a flood had occurred three weeks prior that had washed out major portions of the park.  Why he could not have simply told me that is impossible to know.
My two encounters with government employees in Maui was sufficient cause to make me vow to myself that I will never visit Maui again, even if someone else is generously paying for my visit.  Thank you very much but I can be abused by government employees in my own town without having to fly half way around the world for the same privilege.  If you believe in freedom and the principle that cops and government employees should treat you with the same degree of respect they command you to treat them then you will also boycott Maui. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Yuppies Destroy Maui

I spent the last two weeks in Hawaii.  I could never afford to go there myself, being just a lowly owner of a janitorial company, but a generous benefactor offered to pay for all of my lodging if I could simply get myself there.  I figured out a way to do that and two weeks ago my wife and I were off to Maui and the Big Island.
We spent the first week on Maui and I was very negatively impressed by the changes that had taken place there since my last visit.  Yuppies love Maui.  I am not sure why that has come to be but it is true.  I suspect it has something to do with the lemming mentality that infects all Yuppies.  Once the word gets out that some place is the place to be all Yuppies suddenly add going to that place to their list of things to do in order to maintain most preferred Yuppie status. Things like doing a zip-line and climbing a fourteen thousand foot peak are examples of activities that show up on Yuppie to-do lists.  Apparently visiting Maui is now on that list of things to do.
I knew something had changed the moment we arrived at the airport.  People were nervous and tense.  People were pushing their way through lines and walking around with intense looks on their faces.  Once we picked up our rental car we were immediately raged by numerous tail-gateing Yuppies in an obvious hurry to get to their Yuppie resorts.   Driving about the island revealed that there are so many Yuppies there, it was the off-season, that traffic jams reminiscent of the Denver area are now considered to be normal.  It was all quite depressing.
There is a hike on the north shore of the north island of Maui called Waihee Ridge.  I have done that hike many times in the past and almost always had it entirely to myself.  It is not a difficult hike, measuring about 5 miles round trip with a vertical gain of less than 2,000 feet, but it climbs along a ridge in the jungle and provides outstanding overlooks into the canyons and cliffs of the interior of the island.  If you do not know where to find the trail head you will likely never find it as it is not marked along the road and on a relatively obscure part of the island.  My wife and I decided to go do that hike one morning.  Man was that a mistake.
We drove to the trail head only to discover that it no longer existed. Or, at least, it no longer existed as we remembered it.  It had been replace with a large parking lot filled with cars.  There had to be a dozen cars parked in the lot when we arrived.  We immediately suspected that something had gone drastically wrong.  Yep, the Yuppies had discovered Waihee Ridge.  I don't know how they did it but they did it.  Waihee Ridge is now on the list of Yuppie things to do when visiting Maui.  I took my wife to the dentist this morning and while sitting in the waiting room I noticed a magazine about great hikes around the world that are must-do hikes.  Yep, it was a Yuppie hiking magazine.  I opened it up to the table of contents and found a section on Maui.  I turned to the section on Maui and there, on the very first page, was the Waihee Ridge trail.  The description said, "do this before it gets discovered." 
It had been unusually wet the weeks prior to our arrival and this particular trail had turned to mud.  We started up the trail expecting to get a bit dirty.  We had not gone half a mile before we heard two people crashing through the jungle in the woods above the trail.  They soon came down to where we were making our way through ankle deep mud and asked if I had been up the trail before.  I told them that I had.  They then asked if it was likely to remain muddy to the top.  I informed them that it most likely would remain muddy.  They looked at each other, wearing their UnderArmor shirts and their somewhat mud splattered neon colored hiking shoes, and decided to turn around.  Mud was not their cup of tea, although they both smelled very good.  Later on, after we had finished our hike and were cleaning the mud off our lower extremities in the parking lot, a couple of Yuppies pulled up and jumped out of their car.  They were clad in UnderArmor attire and wore neon colored hiking shoes.  I didn't think it would be worth telling them what was soon to come.
We decided to visit the heart of Yuppie country on Maui, an area called Kaanapali, one afternoon.  We wanted to visit the Whaling Museum in the Whalers Village.  If you have never been to the Whaling Museum, you should go.  It is a fantastic testimony to the history of whaling in the area.  The artifacts they have collected there are astounding.  We looked forward to our visit as we pulled into the parking lot.  As we walked through Whalers Village it was obvious things had changed dramatically.  Store fronts that had previously housed Hilo Hattie and ABC stores were now occupied by Armani and Gucci.  There was a large hole in the middle of the Village where the museum used to be.  I asked around and discovered that the museum was considered to have become a waste of space and it was being replaced with a pantheon of Yuppie stores instead.  How sad, I thought out loud.
We did manage to find one Hilo Hattie store in Lahaina.  While there used to be dozens of Hilo Hattie stores there are now only three on all of the islands.  The one we found was being closed and the poor employees working there were all seriously depressed. I asked them what had happened and they said they could no longer afford the rents as more and more upper class stores had moved into the neighborhoods, displacing lower and middle class stores like theirs.  I looked out the window and, sure enough, there was a Gucci store where an old sea food restaurant used to be.  I bought a Hawaiian shirt and went outside to sit down and contemplate what had happened.  While my wife and I were sitting on a bench outside the store a Yuppie couple came strutting up to us.  The woman was dressed up like she was going to the Oscars, complete with stiletto heels, and her man was dressed all in black and sported a very square jaw and perfect teeth.  He stopped to ask us if we knew where the "Blank & Blank" store might be found.  I did not recognize the name of the store he was inquiring about but before I could tell him I had no idea what he was talking about the woman, without even glancing in our direction, waved her hand in the air and said "they won't know where it is."  She didn't even break stride as she passed us.  I have been treated poorly many times in my life.  As a janitor I am accustomed to being ignored.  But never in my life have I experienced the utter disdain this woman expressed for us.  We were so low on the evolutionary scale we did not even deserve to be recognized as human beings.
As we were driving back to our room that night my wife described it best.  She said, "Yuppies destroy everything they touch."  How true.