Silversword of Haleakala

High atop Mount Haleakala a  plant grows that is unique to this moonscape environment.  The Silversword only grows on Haleakala in volcanic cinder,  subject to freezing cold and high winds.The skin and hairs are strong enough to resist the wind  and protect the plant.The succulent leaves of the Silversword are covered with silver hairs reflecting the bright sunlight on the rocky slopes . In the leaves  a gel like substance attracts and stores water for dryer seasons.
 Blooming usually occurs from July through October.. The flower stalk can reach up to 6.ft.  in height covered in  sticky hairs to prevent crawling insects from creating damage.. The life span of a Silversword ranges from five to fifteen years.  After flowering the plant will die. 
 It's summer, and I am due for a trip up to Haleakala to look for  blooming plants to photograph. This photo I took a few years ago, and it's still one of my favorite images.

 In the 1920', visitors to the summit  uprooted  silversword plants to roll down the jagged lava slopes, also picking them  as souvenirs  These practices brought the Silversword close to extinction . The shallow root structure is very delicate and can be crushed by walking  around the plant. I was once lucky enough to smell the exotic fragrance by leaning in towards the blooming stock without stepping off the trail..
 Feeding by goats also severely damaged  plants. Goats and pigs are  fenced out of the crater area and since 1992, the Silversword is legally protected from damage by humans.
The protection of our  eco system is important in so many ways. We have lost so much that was unique to the Hawaiian islands. 
Enjoy and visit the House of the Sun, and please be very sensitive when visiting the treasure that is Haleakala.

With Aloha,

Pukalani Golf and Maui Fun!

Aloha Folks,

Last week was a great week, one that I had been looking forward to for a year. My brother and sister -in -law, Don and Karen, came to the B&B with some of their California friends for a play week. Their focus was golf, and they definitely fulfilled their quota. The beautiful Pukalani Golf Course, just 5 minutes away, was the main event. The course offers a weekly package with a further discount for staying at Hale Ho'okipa Inn. I also offer a discount for guests who are golfing upcountry at this wonderful course. All in all, the golfers felt challenged and happy with the course. I heard about it every night as they tallied up their scores and chatted over a glass of wine.

I am not a golfer, however I still love an adventure, and I was able to add to the week's excitement taking my friends and family on a "comando hike." We worked at clearing one of my favorite trails, and then were rewarded with a relax in an ocean pool at the end of the job. I think the gang had a gas, and were also rather surprised at our "hike", even though I warned them about the intensity ,"Black Diamond", "Level 5"...however you want to label was fun, and challenging, and the trail is passable once again.

If golf is not your thing, you will be able to find lots to do while other folks are on the green. One of my guests discovered the nearby botanical gardens called the Enchanting Floral Gardens and the Kula Botanical Gardens. She borrowed one of my many plant books and had a great time.

A couple of folks also hiked the Haleakala National Park, a hike for prepared and fit hikers. They were rewarded with mostly sunshine and some rain at the end of the trail.

I have a b-b-q in the yard, and wow, did we ever eat some yummy dinners! Lots of local and organic greens created our delicious nightly salad, and fresh fish for the barbie... ono!... everyone ended their day fully satisfied.

So, gather up your possey, and make plans for a super Stay and Play golf vacation in Upcountry Maui.

Write me for rates and availability, I'll be happy to help make your trip a memorable one.

Here's to family and friends, life is good!

The Color Purple

Aloha ,

May and June are Purple months in the islands...I look forward to these months every year for many reasons, and one of them is most definitely the many shades of purple that dot the upcountry landscape.

The Jacaranda tree is not especially beautiful before it blooms, with only a few disc shaped pods hanging off the ends of the barren branches, shedding little twigs before the leaves open. Two Jacaranda trees at Hale Ho'okipa are displaying lavender color blossoms right now, with more opening daily.

The Lower Kula Highway is such an impressive and scenic drive with these blossoms showering the landscape. The bell shaped flowers flutter down in the trade winds, blanketing pasture land and road ways purple . The pesky silver oak tree also blooms this time of year. Orange blooms of this invasive tree make a nice contrast to all the shades of purple and blue.

Today I happened upon a Jacaranda in bloom with a large cactus flowering right next to it...The stretch of road that divides upper Kula from lower Kula is dotted with statuesque cacti. The cactus flowers will form an edible fruit we call Panini. It is covered in fine little spines that have to be removed before the fruit can be peeled. I have never attempted this job, but from what I hear it takes some heavy gloves to harvest the fruit and then many shakes in a paper bag to remove the spines. It is alot of tricky work for a not so impressive fruit.

Often, plein air artists of Maui can be seen along the roads and accross the pasture lands as well this time of year. Inspiration abounds with soft golden light at sunset. I hope to post some paintings by some of our artists soon.

Today the sky was such a brilliant blue, and the sun so bright... I really did need my sunglasses.

It was almost breathtaking. Every single day I am grateful for the place I call home, today I was in awe.

So, come to Maui, have one more month to witness the many Colors of Purple.
It will really put a smile on your face!

Aloha, hope to see you soon..........


Upcountry Maui Fun


My grandson, Aukai, is visiting from the Big Island and we are having a great weekend exploring Maui. I try to get out and about often, but there is nothing like having family and friends here to really get my Exploring Energy fired up.

I have been meaning to get up to check out the new (three years old now in the new location!) Thompson Ranch, for some horseback riding. Yesterday was a bit chilly with lots of cool mountain mist rolling down the slopes of Haleakala, so we bundled up for our ride. Aukai rode Rascal, he was the lead horse after our guide. I rode Commander. Commander was a beautiful painted female, and somehow, her name did not fit for me.

We tackled the mountain slope, quite a climb up to 5,000 ft. Andy Thompson was our guide, and she was a pleasure to spend time with. The ranch is 1,400 acres of sloping Haleakala flanks boarding on the PoliPoli forest. I love this area of Maui so much. The neighborhood drive up to the ranch is a delight in flowering hedges and old stone walls surrounding emerald green pastures.

After our ride we stopped by the Ali'i Kula Lavender farm.

This lovely 10 acres estate, offers a serene setting for drinking in the vistas while strolling through exciting and well cared for gardens. We wandered on the "Peaceful Path" sipping our delicious lavender tea. Actually, I wandered, lagging behind while my grandson made double time on the trails. This family farm is well run, and a special treat to visit, offering beneficial lavender products, creams and lotions and food products to purchase. Aukai picked out a couple of great gifts for his family.

Our day was great, topped off by a visit to the skate park in Wailuku and ono pizza at Flatbread in Paia.

Wow, some fun! and we are still going. We plan to go the Maui Arts and Cultural Center this evening for a fantastic Ukulele fest with the famed Jake!

Come visit Maui, and I will give you some great tips on special ways to spend your time.

Aloha for now, see you soon..


Mixed Bag


This post is a mixed bag, reflecting life on the island this last week.

A tsunami will grab everybody's attention, and it did. My phone rang at 4 am, my mainland guests, do love 'em, called to warn me about a monster size tsunami that was heading accross the ocean towards our island home. The last tsunami in 1960 was big after being generated by a smaller quake than had just happened. All this woke me up rather quickly. The phone rang again shortly after and it was some folks evacuating from the beach area looking for a room. OK, no going back to sleep now. Might as well gas up and hit the grocery store. I beat most of the crowd to gas, but the grocery store was another thing. People in Hawaii are pretty serious about food, food and beer. I have never seen so many people in line in a grocery store, ever. Ice was melting in the long lines, dripping water accross the crowded floors. Big bags of white rice, toliet paper, Hawaiian currency, and "choke beer" was the order of the day. True to form, the day turned into a great big island wide picnic. Of course, everybody headed for the hills, making upcountry a popular place to be on Tsunami Day. Luckily for all of us, that is all the day turned out to be, a big picnic. Our island community was "on it," well prepared, our officals did their job, the tsunami sirens blared like clock work, and it was a well ordered, sunny and beautiful, crazy day.

The photos I'm posting today were taken by a wonderful German couple on their honeymoon during the mixed bag week. Julia and Jorg sent me a couple of shots from their Maui trip. If you look closely at the jungle shot, you will see a mongoose standing. It's a great shot that was taken at the Wainapanapa State Park out in Hana. This beautiful Hawaiian word means "glistening waters." It is a black sand beach with lots of jungle bush surrounding the park. The curious mongoose is ever present out in the jungle areas. The funny story about the mongoose is that they were imported to Hawaii to take care of the rat problem. I guess not alot of research went into this decision as one sleeps during the day, and the other at night. Not much opportunity for battles.

Moving on, Jorg is standing next to a giant guitar at Charley's in Paia. He was very impressed with the size and quality of this beautiful guitar. Charley's resturant is a bit of an icon in Paia town. It has grown over the years to a gathering place for some good music, and when you want an ono cooked breakfast, they are always a good and friendly place to stop in.

The last photo is of lovely Julia in the garden of Hale Ho'okipa wearing the gorgeous orchid lei that I gave her at breakfast. A friend had given it to me, and when I remembered that they were on their honeymoon, I gifted it to Julia. It looked stunning on her. The orchid petals are folded so that create a boxy look. This lei is unique and impressive, as many of our Hawaiian lei are. What an art lei making is!

Thanks for the photos, folks, it was great to meet you, and mahalo for your company during our rather wild week.

Much Aloha,

Makawao blockparty, fundraiser and art show


This weekend's fun and fundraisers in Makawao were a great success. Two very different and worthy causes drew large crowds at either end of town.

Midtown was featuring a blockparty for the Pacific Cancer Foundation on Maui. There was live music, a silent auction with amazing donations from lots of folks. I bid on a pilates class from my friend's great new OnCore Studio in Makawao.

This was a wonderful community effort to support our breast cancer survivors. All proceeds were donated towards breast cancer education and screening in Hawaii. Desiree from the boutique Pink by Nature did a wonderful job organizing this successful event.

At the far end of Baldwin Ave, near the Makawao Steakhouse, is the fantastic Viewpoints Gallery. They featured the long awaited "Malama Wao Akua" East Maui Watershed art opening. The show was well attended, overflowing with artists, fans, friends and family.

The Haleakala Watershed folks have highlighted their wonderful efforts of conservation of our mountain slopes with this uniquely informative art show. The quality and diversity of the show was very impressive and inspiring. My woodcut and watercolor piece was selected for the show, and you can tell by my smile that I was pretty excited. The image, is the harvesting of Naupaka seeds.

This show will hang for a few weeks, so if you are Upcountry, do stop by and spend some time enjoying the beautiful art at Viewpoints, and learn a few things about where our water comes from.

Honor the aina, take care of each other...

With much Aloha,


Maui No Ka Oi, Maui The Best

North Shore Maui Hawaii beach

Aloha from a day in my life ...... Maui No Ka Oi

Yesterday was one of those days that you just have to write home about. The morning was crystal clear with the top of the West Maui's, Puu Kukui, free from clouds. When the morning dawns like this, it's hard to decide which way to go. I had a ceremony to attend at the beach so I headed for the ocean.

Many flowers and lei that had been dropped into the ocean, continued to wash up along the North Shore throughout the day. Mid day was spent swimming and relaxing in the shade. I had plans for a night out and needed to rest up.

Hapa - Hawaiian guitaristsThe evening was spent at our upcountry night spot, Casanova, listening to some really wonderful music. If you have not heard of Maui's own, "Hapa," do yourself a favor and check out their website. This was a special treat as Hapa had not played in Makawao for ten years. Hard to believe that much time has passed!

These two musicians are multi talented and their hula dancer was one of the most beautiful performers I have ever seen. Barry Flanagan has a fluid relationship with his guitar ,bringing forth sweet and unexpected sounds. Poetry in motion comes to mind.

Hawaiian Guitarists and Hula DancerNathan Aweau hails from a musical ohana (family) in Honolulu. He is very accomplished and versatile, playing the 7 string base and 12 string guitar, delighting the audience with a falsetto performance.

They played slack key, "Ki Hoalu" the Hawaiian word translates to "loosening the key" making reference to Gabby Pahinui. Gabby Pahinui was the first to record this style of guitar playing in the late 1940's. Slack key prior to this recording was reserved for parties and gatherings. The Mexican cowboys, paniolos, brought guitars when they came to Hawaii to work on the range. They taught the Hawaiians to play guitar, leaving them to develop their own style of tuning.

The West Maui Mountains on a very clear dayHapa's music evokes a feeling of a simpler, happy time, praising the natural splendor of Maui. I hope they return to upcountry soon. This was a stellar day, topped off with listening to magical music with a good friend, like I said................. Maui no ka oi.

Aloha on a mellow Sunday afternoon, may good things come your way.


Horseback riding in Hana Hawaii

Cherie and her son Rocket at the Waikamoi Falls near Hana, Maui, Hawaii

My son, Rocket and I had a great time together while he was home recently. We drove out the "back side" of the island to Hana. This is one of my favorite drives on Maui. The Kaupo Gap at sunset is breathtaking. Gazing at the deep crevices and shadows of the Haleakala slopes is something I could do for hours. I want to bring my watercolors and camera out to this amazing scenery and spend the day watching the shadows grow.

Our destination was Maui Stables in the lush area of Kipahulu Valley. We arrived at the stable on a sunny morning knowing full well it could be raining within the hour. The weather changes in Hana throughout the day. You can see the squalls coming in off the ocean.Hana Maui Hawaii horseback riding guide Keoni

Our guide, Keoni, was the best guide on any organized adventure I have ever experienced. He was a delight in his cultural pride, commitment and dedication. Keoni shared many of his stories from small kid days growing up in Hana. He began our ride with a chant, and shared another chant with us when we arrived at the overlook of the waterfall. He knows many plants and their traditional medicinal uses. He was entertaining and sincere, and I really enjoyed "talking story" with Keoni.

Keoni explained that the correct pronunciation for Hana is to put more emphasis on the first Ha....this translation means "alert." The people of Hana in ancient times had to remain alert against warring neighbors from the Big Island.Horseback riding in Hawaii with Maui Stables in Hana

The horses of Maui Stables were beautiful and in excellent condition. They seemed sure footed on the trail up to the waterfall overlook. Even though I don't spend much time around horses, I do enjoy a great ride now and then, and this really was a fantastic experience for my son and I. Look these folks up while on Maui, you'll be glad you did!

Mahalo Maui Stables, we had a blast!

Aloha for now,

Bamboo and Wai (fresh water)

Bamboo forest trail on Maui Hawaii

Aloha from upcountry!

Although we have been experiencing a nippy winter with a fair amount of rain, I was told recently that we are still in a drought. When the big rains come, it is often from the south, Kona storms. Those rains tend to run off into the, that is a cryin' shame!

The Hawaiian word for fresh water is "wai". Wai Wai means wealth. Maui Hawaii fresh water pondIn the beautiful and amazing district of Hana, on the eastern side of Maui, there is controversy about the fresh water that travels all the way to the central valley to water the sugar cane.

This system of canals was built in the 1870's, and still is in use today. The kalo, taro, farmers of Hana district need water to grow their taro crops. Taro is a very important plant in the Hawaiian culture. There are many remnants of the kalo terraces from ancient times.

I am posting some shots of a recent hike that I took with my grandchildren. We walked through this amazing bamboo forests to get to the waterfalls. Bamboo is an introduced species that is dominating in many areas of the islands. waterfall in Maui HawaiiIt grows incredibly fast, inches a day. It was intoduced to Hawaii during plantation times as a food source.
The clacking of the bamboo as it sways in the wind is soothing. One has to be very mindful of where you plant it, and the variety you plant. The yellow elephant bamboo variety gets huge, and is very difficult to get rid of once it is going strong.
I just learned about the native Hawaiian bamboo. It does not grow that tall. I have yet to see it, but I'll be keeping my eyes open for it.

We are so blessed .

With Aloha,


Polipoli State Park


On the slopes of Haleakala Crater at 6,2000 feet is the Polipoli State Park recreational area. Bordering the Kula Forest Reserve, the 10 acre park is a protected bird sanctuary. The Hawaiian word "polipoli" translates to "bosom."
The forest is a delight of exotic trees, cypress, sugi, ash, plum, cedar and pine. The redwoods are quite impressive. They tower over the other trees, with a seemingly strong root system. Many of the trees have toppled, leaving large exposed root balls. There is even a new sign posted that warns hikers of the danger of falling trees.

Two years ago there was a devastating forest fire on the slopes of Haleakala at the 6,000 foot level. Many trees were torched, and a lot of dead trees are still standing. A reforestation effort is under way. The koa tree, ( an acaia) a Hawaii native that is listed as endangered, is now being planted on the slopes. Large boars roam these forests and hill sides, and tend to root around the newly planted koa trees. Luckily, the koa trees are rather quick growing.

The park has several forested trails. One of my favorite trails winds through the redwoods and passes through an area of very, very tall flowering blue and purple hydrangeas. and, pink and red fuchsias. If it is a wet year, this particular area can be a riot of color. Two old picturesque 1930's CCC cabins are set along this trail. The trails are often shrouded in mist, making these hikes peaceful, with abundant greenery. The 5 mile hike around the park boundary is a great work out. On the exposed ridge of the boundary trail, the Big Island of Hawaii is visible on a clear day. Hiking prepared with layers, gortex, and maybe a fleece vest is recommended. It can get quite cold at this elevation.

Besides hiking, several trails are designated for mountain biking. I personally do not mountain bike, but the trails are acclaimed by those in the know.

From the B&B in Makawao, the drive is about 45 minutes long. The road, once it turns into dirt, can be challenging for small cars . The road does continue on to wrap around into some very rough 4x4 roads that lead up the side of the mountain.

Until next time, Happy Hiking, and Happy Holidays!

A hui ho,