Lyon Arboretum, Oahu, Hawaii, February 2020 Part 2

Lifestyle, Nature, Photography, Travel

The rest of the garden at Lyon Arboretum leading from the Buddha was more semi wild rainforest. Still manicured, yet compared to the actual manicured part it was wilder, more forest. I’d got to the point I couldn’t and didn’t want to take any more photos, yet every twist and turn of the path was something I wanted to photo knowing I’m probably never returning again. Trees were more than just trees. They were cities in themselves with ivy, moss and host of other plants growing on them who in return housed hundreds of bugs, insects and animals. The big tropical leaves growing free competing for the sunlight. Leaves as big as umbrellas.

I only realised editing these photos I never changed the ISO. In my defence I wasn’t using or understanding how to use ISO 2 years ago. Yes, it’s been 2 years and I’m only just sharing the photos! This part the island has its own climate (The Hawaiian Islands have 10 of the 14 climates in the world!). Sunny skies accept for the Manoa Valley that day. It’s crazy how for such a small island in the middle of Pacific ocean different locations on the island have different climates and weather all in one day. It freaked me out almost daily when I was there that I was on a tiny volcanic island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean which is huge and deep, feeling open and exposed. I live by the Mediterranean Sea with a huge continent behind me with one fault line running in the middle of the med sea. I feel safe as there’s lot of space. Even in the UK an island itself where I grew up I never thought I was on an island. It’s what you’re used to. None of this however excuses my lack of using ISO.

Jungle, jungle more jungle!

Just like how plants grow in cracks in walls!

Canopy tops like coral fans looking up matched each other like jigsaw puzzles for light. Neither one bumping into each other leaving a little breathing room between them.

Manoa Falls Trail , Oahu, Hawaii

Animal Kingdom, Lifestyle, Nature, Photography, Travel

One of the best things about Manoa Falls are the parking security guards. Semi wild chickens who have the run of the car park! 

Nestled in the Manoa Valley mountains, the Na Ala Hele (trail for walking) Manoa Falls Trail is a 2.6km/1.6mi hike up into the mountains. Starting at the car park the trail takes you into the rainforest. I think admission was about $5 if arriving by car otherwise it’s free. Trees start out tall with canopies reaching fanning out to the sky. Looking up they gently give each other breathing space while almost matching each others outline just like looking at world maps seeing where continents once connected, like a jigsaw puzzle or tropical coral fanning out. As you get higher up the path becomes narrower, steeper. Plants you don’t notice unless you use a branch to help you up. Tree trunks become skinner, the leaves become bigger as they compete for light, the forest becomes more dense, the path narrower and rockier. When we went it had been raining earlier so the path was muddy. Muddy! If you do this hike, wear something more than sandals as several people met the mud in style. Also do the hike earlier in the day if you want to avoid people. The hike takes around 1-2 hours there and back. No photos I’m sure it can be done in just over an hour. I think the trial during the initial covid-19 lockdowns was closed for maintenance to widen the path and make it more user friendly. It’s since reopened however I’m so grateful I got to visit before the covid-19 pandemic took hold. I’d love one day to go back to explore more trails that connect to it and those from the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum located near the start of the trail. This girl can visit in her dreams!

The security guards. Don’t mess with them

The path ends at Manoa Falls, a beautiful waterfall that I swear has ledges cut out each side for shampoo. Only joking, the ledges are filled with plants, but maybe just maybe shampoo. I wanted to get closer but the good positions were taken up with selfies. Take 100, delete all, take another 100 selfies. Another reason to get there early. I felt for the people that hiked up with 2 people with loudspeakers. Why? The epic soundtrack. In a city I get it, but in nature, please leave the music behind if anything to let others who for many it’s once in a lifetime experience to enjoy it. Man, I sound so old! Looking back I didn’t hear many birds. Maybe they avoid the area due to people. There were moments on the path to myself which was cool against the day’s heat.

San Francisco Botanical Gardens 

Animal Kingdom, Nature, Photography, Travel

9,000 different plants from all over the world at San Francisco Botanical Gardens take you on a journey across the globe. You can’t just look in one direction ahead! Looking up magnolias, redwoods, looking down camellias, herbs, moss. Each twist and turn of the paths takes you almost if there’s no one around a secret garden on the other side of the world. Or down the road in the California garden!

We had enough of the city, wanting some fresh air when we visited San Francisco earlier this year. The botanical gardens and Japanese Tea Garden were a few places on our list of places to go thinking they’re in the same garden. The Japanese Tea Garden is in the same park, Golden Gate Park but not in the same garden if that makes sense. Golden Gate Park while it looks close to the centre or downtown San Francisco isn’t. For some reason looking at the map of San Fransisco bay area I thought it was like a European town with everything more of less in walking or a metro distance. Err, no! You need a car to get around, unless you want to do multiple buses, taxis or Uber. A car worked out cheaper than Uber. We stayed just outside San Francisco in Belmont, Redwood Shores and I think the garden was a 40 minute drive away. We’d thought we’d have enough time to do both however the botanical gardens were bigger than we’d expected. By the time we’d left (after a who’s right which way back to the entrance! I think we both compromised and worked it out) it was 16.30 winter closing hours.

Bamboo gardenDSCF0072Puffer fish!

We could have easily have spent more time in the gardens. It’s split into Californian indigenous plants within their own geographic location and into South America, Asia Africa and Europe. The Mediterranean Garden features native Californian plants along side plants from South-western Australia, Chile and South Africa all grouped within their own geographical location. The Mild Temperate Climate features plants from Eastern Australia, New Zealand and a Japanese Moon

Early Spring Jardi Botanic Marimurtra Part 2

Nature, Photography, Travel

Last month we revisited Jardi Botanic Marimurtra nestled along the Costa Brava’s rocky coastline. Garden’s aren’t really my thing, yet this one I was drawn after an internet finding things to do outside the city. Okay, it was the gondola overlooking the sea that did it!

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The gondola isn’t the garden’s only star. Each twist and turn hold new gems: tropical plants, ponds, sea views, terracotta walls and sweet fragrance scents.