Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Ko'olau Forest Reserve
I caught some beautiful images here as we went botanizing in the Ko'olau forest reserve on Maui with wildlife biologist Fern Duvall and the Native Hawaiian Plant Society. We entered the forest from the top of Olinda Rd., approximately 6,200 feet elevation and hiked in from there for about a mile or two. It went from hot, dry and sunny, as we walked and slowly changed to misty, cool and muddy. By the time we reached the first bridge, my camera was dripping wet!! Time to put it away, but did manage to photograph some rare and peculiar native Hawaiian plant species; clermontias, ferns- a'mau, repeatedly forking ferns- Sticherus?, native geraniums, mountain naupaka, ohelo, tropical hydrangeas' to name a few and a dominant tree line of ohia.
The upper forest zone of Ko'olau heads up towards Haleakala's northern slope and is cut into many gorges, the biggest of these is the outlet at Keanae, called Ko'olau Gap. Ko'olau, which means 'windward,' catches the rain clouds and squeezes out about 80in of rain annually on the coast and a mighty 200in to 300in up the slopes. No surprise - that makes for awesome waterfalls as the rainwater rushes down the reserve's abundant gulches and streams.