A wild cockatoo or two

DSCN0503.JPG

I swear it looks like he’s smiling.

Several wild cockatoos live in the rear of Manoa Valley.

DSCN1652.JPG

Credible folklore says they are remnants of the old Paradise Park tourist attraction that featured exotic birds riding bicycles and that sort of thing until it went out of business in the 1990s.

Bruno Mars lived in a small cottage there with his father for a time, and remnants of the park were later used for sets to film the TV series “Lost.”

DSCN0527.JPG

The cockatoos screech pretty loud, but you don’t always actually see them.  It’s a treat when you do.

DSCN0552.JPG

DSCN0554.JPG

DSCN0498.JPG

DSCN1655.JPG

Mount Olympus trek into the clouds

IMG_9168.jpg

Taking a break at Inspiration Rock, along the Wa’ahila Ridge Trail on the way up to Awaawaloa, better known as Mount Olympus.

img_9183

Manoa Valley with Waikiki in the background.

IMG_9187.jpg

A small rainbow over the valley.

img_9233

Diamond Head, rear left, and Waikiki at right.

IMG_9211.jpg

Still a long way to go.

IMG_9186.jpg

Trail is still very clear and strong.

img_9190

It keeps going.

IMG_9208.jpg

Reaching the cloud level.

IMG_9239.jpg

A nice view of Ka’au Crater, a tuff cone above Palolo Valley.  The center is basically a high elevation swamp.

IMG_9235.jpg

Into the clouds.  Almost there.

IMG_9230.jpg

The other side of the Koolaus.  Triple peaks of Mount Olomana below, flanked by Kailua and Kaneohe.

Hawaii’s beauty and danger

Waterfall 6.1.jpg

So many beautiful places in Hawaii can also be very dangerous, and sometimes deadly.

It was only a few weeks ago when I wrote about the recent tragedy at Manoa Falls.  A 19-year-old college freshman fell to her death from the top of the main falls.

So I was a little surprised when I visited the falls again yesterday and saw another young woman about her age perched at the same spot from which the freshman fell.

Waterfall 14.1.jpg

Waterfall 2.1.jpg

But I really shouldn’t have been.  Young folks have been climbing to the top of the falls for many, many years.  I’ve done it myself, but not for a long time.

It’s not easy.  You literally have to scramble straight up the face of large rocks by clinging to banyan tree roots.  Don’t attempt it if you’re not in very good shape, are unfamiliar with the area, or have no experienced companions.  It’s just not worth it.

The attraction at the top of the falls is a small and secluded pool, filled with fresh mountain water that cascades from yet another pool even higher up.

Pool 5.jpg

Pool 6.JPG

The “infinity pool,” as it’s called by some, offers a great view of Manoa Valley and some privacy, a welcome respite from parents and the hordes of tourists who visit the main falls below.

Pool 4.jpg

Waterfall 30.jpg

Waterfall 32.jpg

It’s a long way down.  And the water below is very shallow.

Waterfall 33.jpg

Waterfall 29

Waterfall 26.jpg

Sometimes, the water flowing into the pool is barely a trickle.  Sometimes it’s quite a shower, and that’s when it’s both most beautiful and most dangerous.  Hawaii’s weather can be very unpredictable, especially in the mountains.  Rains can come quickly and turn dry stream beds into raging rapids within minutes, sweeping along rocks, branches and debris that can make waterfalls and pools very, very dangerous.

Waterfall 8.jpg

But the current generation of young visitors to the infinity pool is definitely the Facebook and selfie generation.  It seems that taking the perfect selfie at the edge of the pool is now the thing to do.

Waterfall 19.jpg

I guess I can’t really blame them.  It’s a beautiful spot, and I’m sure this visitor took some great pictures.  But it can be very, very dangerous.

I just hope she also made it home safely, and that any who follow her will too.

Manoa Falls lei