Wailua Falls

IMG_5226Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

Our tour guide picked us up at the pier right after our cruise ship pulled into port in Kauai. We had reservations to go tubing with Kauai Back Country, but Dennis said we needed to see Wailua Falls first. It was just up the road from where we needed to go.20190418_072704

Wailua Falls is behind the Kalepa Mountain Forest Reserve, which was established in 1944 when erosion on the ridge necessitated reforestation. In the midst of the lush regrowth, Wailua Falls was featured in the open credits of Fantasy Island.

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Visiting the falls is easy. It can be viewed from a small parking lot with an overlook. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can hike the steep trail down to the bottom and swim in the pool. The lot does fill up, so best to get there early.

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Ancient Hawaiian men sometimes jumped from the 173-foot waterfall as a rite of passage. Dennis told us that some crazy guy had jumped from the falls a few years ago and knocked himself out on the way down. He was saved from drowning by a swimmer in the pool.

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Kauai Posts:

  • Wailua Falls
  • Lihue Plantation Hanama‘ulu Ditch
  • ʻŌpaekaʻa Falls
  • Wailua River State Park
  • Mount Waiʻaleʻale
  • Fuji Beach
  • Moloa’a Beach
  • Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge
  • Kīlauea Lighthouse
  • Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge
  • Wai’oli Hui’ia Church
  • NININI POINT LIGHTHOUSE
  • Waimea Canyon State Park: Red Dirt Falls
  • Waimea Canyon State Park: Waimea Canyon Lookout
  • Waimea Canyon State Park: Waipo’o Falls
  • Kōkeʻe State Park: Kalalau Lookout
  • Kōkeʻe State Park: Pu’u O Kila Lookout
  • Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park
  • Hanapepe Swinging Bridge
  • Spouting Horn
  • Koloa Heritage Trail: Spouting Horn
  • Koloa Heritage Trail: Keoneloa Bay
  • Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park

Location: Ma’alo Rd Hwy 583, Lihue, HI 96766

Designation: State Forest Reserve

Date designated or established: 1944

Date of my visit: 4/18/2019

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Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park: Steam Vents

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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After visiting Volcano House and the park’s visitor center in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, our tour continued on to the Steam Vents parking lot. We walked through a grassy meadow to the caldera’s edge.

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From this paved path, we could see steam billowing out of the earth in places.  A few feet down, the ground is so hot that trees can’t take root here, but the tall grasses thrive.

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The steam vents are caused by groundwater seeping through to the hot volcanic rock below. When it makes contact with the hot rocks, it is expelled back up through fractures in the earth as steam.

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At Steaming Bluff, a cliff overlooking the caldera, we paused for some photos of the crater. Then we walked a short way on the trail leading away from the overlook along the rim.

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You can’t go very far on the rim trail because the 2018 eruption destabilized parts of it. The Jaggar museum still sits on this trail, a little further down, but it is no longer structurally sound and so is closed to visitors.

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After we’d seen our fill of smoldering fields, we headed back to the bus for our next destination in the park.

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Hilo Posts:

  • Volcano House
  • Steam Vents
  •  Kīlauea Iki (Coming Soon)
  • Chain of Craters Road (Coming Soon)
  • Big Island Candies (Coming Soon)
  • Rainbow Falls (Coming Soon)
  • Richardson’s Black Sand Beach (Coming Soon)
  • Mokuola (Coming Soon)

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Location: 1 Crater Rim Drive, Volcano, HI 96718

Designation: National Park

Date established/designated: August 1, 1916

Date of my visit: April 16, 2019

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Happy 70th to the National Trust for Historic Preservation!

IMG_2337Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

IMG_2737On October 26, 1949, the National Trust for Historic Preservation was founded with the goal of saving America’s historic places. The trust maintains 27 sites around the country which are open to the public and has contributed to the restoration of hundreds of other places.IMG_2688

As a member, I receive a copy of Preservation magazine and discounted admission to the 27 sites operated by the Trust, including Lyndhurst which I reviewed here. We’ve also toured Many Glacier Hotel…the Trust was instrumental in helping to raise the funds to save this historic National Park Lodge from sliding off its foundations into the lake.

Happy anniversary and thanks for all you do!

Goosepond Mountain State Park

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Goose Pond Mountain State Park is a 1,706-acre undeveloped New York state park. The park includes five acres of man-made wetlands constructed by the New York State Department of Transportation as compensation for wetlands that were destroyed when the nearby highway interchange was built.

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The park is administered by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, but it doesn’t look like it is routinely maintained. The sign at the entrance to the nature trail is overgrown as is the trail itself.

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I stopped here with my dog while were in the area on an errand. We walked as far as we could down the nature trail before it became thoroughly choked with brush and wildflowers. We noticed some birdhouses that looked fairly new…the park is considered a bird sanctuary.

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According to the map at the entrance, when there is less vegetation, the nature trail is a loop with a boardwalk section at the far end.

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Location: 1198 NY-17M, Chester, NY 10918

Designation: State Park

Date designated or established: 1960

Date of my visit: 8/4/2019

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Diamond Head National Natural Landmark

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Diamond Head is a dormant volcano crater. It provides the iconic backdrop to Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu.

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Hawaiians called the crater ‘Le’ahi’ (Tuna Ridge, because it resembles the fin of a tuna.) Western explorers thought they saw diamonds sparkling on the crater walls as they approached from the sea which is how it got the name Diamond Head. There were no diamonds.

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The military built the trail to the top in 1908 and defensive bunkers were built at the summit during World War II. There are still antennae up there in use by the government.

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The hike to the summit is the most popular trail on the island, so we Ubered over to the trail head at the crack of dawn. The car dropped us off in the parking lot where there is a small visitors center kiosk and some restrooms.

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The trail head begins from the parking lot, which is already halfway up the crater. It starts out as a steep sidewalk and then gives way to rocky, slippery switchbacks.

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Near the end of the switchbacks is a side trail leading to an overlook. This is a good pace to take some photos, catch your breath and drink some water.

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The trail is only 1.8 miles round trip, but it’s steep.

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Further up the trail, the switchbacks lead to an even steeper staircase. After climbing the stairs, you get to huff and puff your way through a narrow tunnel blasted through the rock.

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Once through the tunnel, there are more stairs to the bunkers on top. We climbed up there for breathtaking views of Honolulu, the Pacific and Diamond Head Lighthouse down below.

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Once we got back down to the trail head, we continued walking past the park’s entrance to the farmer’s market, about a 1/2 mile down the road. There are dozens of food stalls with fresh fruit and specialties from many different countries. We snacked our way around the world and then were off to our next stop.

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Oahu Posts:

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Location: Diamond Head, Honolulu, HI 96815

Designation: National Natural Landmark, State Monument

Date established/designated: 1968

Date of my visit: April 13, 2019

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Walkill River National Wildlife Refuge: Liberty Loop Trail

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

Years ago, I lived in a more rural section of New Jersey, right on the border of Orange County, New York. Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge was established in the years that I lived there to protect the water quality and manage the waterfowl dependent on the wetlands in the valley. There are several nature trails available for hiking.

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While most of the refuge is in New Jersey, the trail head closest to my house was in New York. The 2.5-mile Liberty Loop Trail was created on a sod farm that was allowed to revert to its natural state and is co-aligned with the Appalachian Trail for one mile.

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The trail begins on a short boardwalk section and loops around the wetlands. It is a nice flat trail and especially scenic when the leaves start turning…perfect for a short nature walk with little kids.

Location: Oil City Rd, Pine Island, NY

Designation: National Wildlife Refuge

Date designated or established: 1990

Date of my visit: 10/16/2004

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Grand Canyon Western Rim: Guano Point

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Driving through Joshua Tree National Forest

When we were staying in Las Vegas for a couple of nights, we took a bus trip to the Western Rim of the Grand Canyon. The tour first stopped at the Hoover Dam (You can see my post on the Dam here,) then traveled through Joshua Tree National Forest to get to Grand Canyon West.

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Grand Canyon West is on Hualapai land and is not part of the National Park. Hualapai means ‘People of the Tall Pines.’ The Hualapai reservation was established in 1883.

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Once in Grand Canyon West, we needed to leave the tour bus and use the Hualapai operated shuttles to get around the park. There are three stops: The Skywalk at Eagle Point, Guano Point and a wild west city. We opted to explore the first two.

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After we’d had our thrills standing on the glass Skywalk over the Grand Canyon, we decided to leave that crowded area for the next stop on the Hualapai shuttle: Guano Point. While everyone was taking selfies at Eagle Point, we had Guano Point virtually to ourselves.

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At the cafe, we redeemed our lunch voucher that came with our tour for a nice BBQ meal and a yummy cookie for dessert. We sat in peace and quiet on the outside patio and ate before the ravens could descend on us.

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Then we walked the short Highpoint trail to fabulous 360 degree views of the canyon and the Colorado River. No view of the Grand Canyon is a bad view, but we thought they were even better here than at Eagle Point.

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We explored the remnants of the 1950s mining operation from which the point derives its name. Guano is bat poop and was used as an ingredient in fertilizer…and also in ladies cosmetics, back in the day! Yuck!

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There were buildings for the miners up here and also a tram that ran across the canyon, almost 9000 feet, to the bat cave. This turned out to be an unprofitable business venture and the mine was abandoned in 1960. The actual Bat Cave across the canyon is now in Grand Canyon National Park while Guano Point is on Hualapai land.

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To see my other posts on the Grand Canyon, please click the following links:

Location: Peach Springs, AZ 86434

Designation: Hualapai Reservation

Date designation declared: 1883

Date of my visit: 4/9/2017

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