Thursday, April 23, 2020

Flora and Fauna of the Desert

I went on my favorite hike off First Water Road several more times while I was in Apache Junction. There are some really nice flora and fauna along the trail this time of year.

The trail winds through different kinds of cactus.

The Chain Cholla is not blooming, but beautiful anyway.

I saw one Claret Cup Cactus blooming -

And lots of Hedgehog Cactus.

Very few poppies, but I did find some.

As for the fauna, I saw a bee with lots of pollen on his legs -

And I got a very bad picture of some kind of butterfly on some Lupine.

I don't know what this is, but I've seen it many times before. It always seems to change color to blend in with whatever flower it is on.

And last but not least, we saw some horses!

It's getting very hot here in Apache Junction, so time to move North!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

A Cougar and Lots of Flowers

After an overnight stop in Yuma after I returned from Hawaii, I moved on to Apache Junction, AZ. One of the first things I did was go on a hike with my sister near the Superstition Mountains.

We went by our favorite cactus, "The Huggers." I ended up doing this hike several more times, so more pictures to come...

In Apache Junction, there's a neat lot with tons of flowers and some rusty stuff. I'm in heaven!

For a few days around the equinox, the shadow of a cougar chasing his prey appears on the Superstition Mountains right at sunset. Not quite there when I first arrived...

But wow! There he is!!!

It's been rather cool this spring, so 99.9% of the saguaros don't even have buds yet. But there is always one early bloomer. If you're in the area, it's on Baseline between Signal Butte and Meridian, in the median strip.

I don't know why this one blooms so early, but it's consistent every year.

Shopping has been crazy, of course. This is the line to get into Costco. Not too bad -

But apparently sometimes it winds up and down a good part of the parking lot. Crazy times!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

It's Time to Leave Paradise

The evening before we left Hawaii, we had a farewell Happy Hour at a local resort.

And then the next afternoon we took off from Kauai on a non-stop flight to San Diego. Leaving the airport, I got a view of the Pride of America on it's last cruise for a long time.

We didn't reach San Diego until after dark, so I got a view of sunset from the plane.

Back in San Diego, I spent the weekend with my grandchildren and their parents.

Poor little Fifi had a cone on, but at least we decorated it for her.

Fuzzball even sat on my lap! Wow!

While I was there, Mara's friend gave the kids a lesson in Lacrosse. It might be a fun thing to play with the social distancing that was just starting.

After my family visit, I drove back to Yuma where I had left my rig.

It was a great trip! I think I could visit Hawaii every year and never get tired of it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Fern Grotto and Other Kauai Sites

One day, we went on a boat trip up the Wailua River to visit the Fern Grotto. The Wailua River is the only navigable river in Hawaii.

On our way up the river, we were entertained by a couple hula dancers and a guitarist, and two women playing 8-string ukuleles! I was really impressed with the ukuleles. First time I have seen the 8-strings, and it may not be the last...

And off we go up the river!

The Fern Grotto was severely damaged by hurricanes in 1982 and 1992, but has recovered quite nicely.

We got serenaded here too!

After our boat trip back, we drove to Glass Beach. While it's not as spectacular as it was 5 years ago when I first saw it, it's still pretty impressive.

It was formed by discarded glass from a nearby industrial area.

And then we went to see Spouting Horn, a blowhole on the south coast of Kauai.

We also went to see several beaches while we were on the island. Poipu Beach is where I stayed on my first trip to Kauai many years ago. It looks a lot different now.

And Lydgate Beach was close to where our condo was. It had a nice protected area.

I'm so glad we went to Hawaii when we did. A few weeks later and it wouldn't have happened!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Waimea Canyon and Kauai's South Coast

One day while in Kauai, we went to the end of the road in Waimea Canyon. Unfortunately, when we got there, the weather wasn't the best.

This was our view! Nice rainbow, but not much else.

This is how it looked when I was there 5 years ago.

Fortunately, as we started back down the road, the views got better as we got out of the clouds.

We stopped at several places to get views of Waipo'o Falls.

As we got a little lower, the clouds were above us, and we got clear views of the canyon.

We stopped at the Menehune Ditch, where there was a swinging bridge across the river.


The Menehune Ditch is an ancient water course built by the Menehune, who were Hawaiian dwarfs!

On the way home, we also stopped at another bridge, the Hanapepe Swinging Bridge.

And we also went through the Tree Tunnel on the way home.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Exploring the North Shore of Kauai

One of the coolest things to do in Kauai is to hike the Kalalau trail, which starts at Ke'e Beach at the end of the road. There's a nice boardwalk from the parking lot to the trailhead -

But then it gets a "little" rough... The trail goes on for 11 miles along the Napali coast, but we went less than a mile.

Our goal was to get a view of the coast. The landscape is just amazing.

Looking back at Ke'e Beach.

We turned around once we got a view of the coast, and the trail starts to go back down again.

Back at Ke'e Beach.

Hi there! Even the roosters like the beach!

On our way back home, we stopped at the Kilauea Lighthouse and the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.

Every other time I've been to Kauai, it has been closed, so I was really excited to see it. The lighthouse was nice, but not open.

But the big deal was the Wildlife Refuge! I saw my first ever Nene Geese! Wow!!!

And over on the hillside, these are all nesting birds!

I saw all of these, but only got a picture of some.

A really bad picture of a Red-Footed Booby, but still exciting to see. I had seen Blue-Footed Boobies and Nasca Boobies in the Galapagos, but no Red-Footed. Wow!

But I got lots of pictures of Red-tailed Tropicbirds. They seemed to be the most common.