Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 16 - Jurassic Park!

Our day on Kauai began with a beautiful sunrise that I wish all of you could have enjoyed with the few of us out on the beach this morning.

Sunrise on Kauai
Then off to more high adventures! Our goal was to see much of the Kauai landscape today and did we ever.

It started off as a very promising day indeed. Gerry pulled off to the side of the road and gave us a little description about the geology and geography of Kauai. As his back drop, he used the main valley where much of Jurassic Park was filmed in 1992.

Let's see...where are we going today?
The valley where much of Jurassic Park was filmed - I can hear the John Williams soundtrack in my head
Did you know that Kauai has the record as being the wettest place on earth with the highest average rainfall on Wai'ale'ale? We traveled up the slopes in our caravan of Caravan's to see the famous peak. There is no access to the peak itself only overlooks. Since it rains on average over 450 inches a year that means it needs to rain more than an inch a day!

Year's ago, park folk would have to ride mules to check the rain gauges through the thick jungle daily. The treacherous path was dangerous because of the jungle and wild animals and wetness
Isn't Wai'ale'ale beautiful? Yes, that is a joke. In the image you see the very nice cloud that was surrounding us and the peak. With all the rain that happens on the peak, it is rarely seen!  Behind this cloud is a nice 5,148 foot peak - the wettest place on earth! It is so wet that plants actually have a hard time living there because it is so wet. The runoff of course supports a tremendous jungle and now there are digital monitors that connect with satellites to measure the daily conditions and rainfall on the peak. The old trail up the mountain that was followed daily by park staff is long lost with jungle now taken over.

Thankfully, the weather can change at a moments notice on Kauai and it did for us. The rest of the day was a strikingly beautiful one. Next, was a view of the magnificent Waimea Canyon.

The red area in this map of Kauai is Waimea Canyon,. In Hawaiian, Wai means Water and Mea means Red - the Red Water Canyon
Waimea Canyon, often touted as "the Grand Canyon of the Pacific" is a wonderfully large and beautiful place full of life and incredible geology. This island has so much for us to learn. The canyon is only a small percentage size of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Professor Van Kooten knows all the paths for various views of the canyon and between today and tomorrow, we will see them all.

Is this place real?  Wow - it is real.
The beauty was stunning!
The geology was remarkable!  Theory's have it that Kauai has a significant collapse of the caldera coupled with erosion and isostatic uplift to form what we see today. The basalt to clay from various chemistry processes was really an amazing thing to learn about today!
Unlike the other isalnds of Hawaii, Kauai features an old enough geology
that running surface water can be found as a prominent feature.
For lunch, Professor Van Kooten led us down a path the overlooked one of the long valleys from the heart of the island to the ocean. It was perhaps the most beautiful place we have eaten lunch at in this trip.

Scattered on the red clays for lunch. See the students WAY in the distance there? This valley is enormous!
Calvin College men having lunch before the vastness of geography and geology
After lunch, Jaclyn gave a power devotional about hope in Christ in the face of adversity and share inspiration from her life and the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Also, Alex B. and Brian gave excellent topic talks on commercial and sport fishing in the Hawaiian Islands.

Packing up our things led us back up the slopes for more Waimea Canyon views and geology discussions.

Just a short stop on the road provided this beauty. the valley floor is over 2000 feet down.
At the Waimea Canyon Lookout (3200 feet).
The stratigraphy in the rocks and clays is so amazing as you can make out various lava flows and processes of the past
Brian, Eric, Gerry, Drew, and Micah at the Lookout
Almost all of our Calvin Men and Women at Weimae Canyon
Brianna, Jenna and Leah
Tyler, Jaclyn, and Grant
After a few more great stops looking at the basalt turned to clays, we headed down to the town of Waimea on the coast. The town of only 1700 people is quiet and small but features some nice places to stop and rest.

A stop at Jo Jo's is a must for great shaved Hawaiian Ice in Waimea - over 60 different flavors!
Our trip is far from a vacation, but this sign does signify that many of our shoulders have loosened a little as we have learned the geology and geography of Hawaii in Aloha style....
James Cook landed first on Kauai in 1778 and this statue in Waimea is a reminder of that encounter. This is a replica statue of the original that stands in Whitby, England

Then a special side trip took us back toward the pali cliff nearer the center of the island. When volcanoes develop in the sea from a hotspot like the Hawaiian chain did, one of the first build ups of lava are called pillow basalts. On the outskirts of Waimea we found pillow basalts that were exposed. It was really cool!

Chad and Tyler checking out the pillowed lava
Oh yeah, there is some pillowed lava exposed
To check out a cool NOAA video and write up on this interested geologic process you can see:

Walking the bouncy pedestrian walking bridge over the Weimea River next to the pillowed basalt

A closer view looking up of the pillowed lava basalt

Just down the street, interestingly enough was an old dismantled Russian Fort. I know - a Russian Fort in Hawaii? Yep it happened and it is a very odd fact of history I think.

This is the story from directly from the National Registry of Historic Places -

"This  large stone structure is  the most impressive reminder of the attempts by the
Russians to gain a position of influence in the Hawaiian Islands  during the early
19th  century.  Alexander Baranov,  governor of the Russian American Company at  Sitka,
wished to open trade with the Hawaiian Islands  to obtain food for the Alaska settle-
ments  and sent  several vessels for this purpose.  One of these ships were wrecked at
Waimea,  Kauai,  in 1815;  and the next year Baranov sent Dr.  Georg Anton Scheffer to
recover the cargo and,  probably,  to open a permanent Russian trading post  or to gain
SL  political  foothold.  Scheffer quickly gained an influence over King Kaumualii,  of
Kauai,  and in  the  summer of 1816  induced the  latter to  sign an  agreement giving the
Russians  certain trading and economic rights  on Kauai  and Oahu.  Unsuccessful in an
attempt to build a fort  at Honolulu,  Scheffer returned to Kauai to  consolidate his
position with Kaumualii.  His  aim,  evidently, was to induce the king to declare his
independence of Kamehameha and enter under Russian protection.  He  first built an
earthwork at Hanalai;  and,  sometime between April  and October,  1817,  he constructed
a strong stone  fort  at  Waimea,  over which the  Russian flag was  flown.

The Waimea establishment was  a large one.  Besides  the  fort,  which was equipped with
guns  and quarters  for troops,  Scheffer had a factory or trading house, with gardens
and houses for a staff of about 30  families.  Evidently the fort was not  entirely
finished by the fall  of 1817,  by which time Scheffer's high-handed conduct had
alienated the Hawaiians.  Acting on orders  from Kamehameha,  Kaumualii  expelled the

After the departure of Scheffer from the islands,  evidently in October,  1817,  the
fort was occupied by Hawaiian troops.  Here,  during 1820,  a 21-gun salute was fired
when the brig Thaddeus  arrived with the son of Kaumualii,  who had been attending
school  in the United States.  The first Protestant mission settlement on Kauai was
on the river bank near the fort.  The Hawaiian garrison was withdrawn and the fort
abandoned in or about  1853."

View Larger Map 

Inside the former Russian Fort
After a wonderful day we had dinner and spent a little time swimming and rest and writing in our journals. Tomorrow is another amazing 12 mile hike through Waimea Canyon! Many of us can't wait!

Miles Hiked today and yesterday 1.2
Miles Hiked in Hawaii: 46.1 miles
Miles on the car: 1251 miles
Number of U-Turns: 21
Number of 60 possible flavors chosen today at Jo Jo's - about 28 (guess we have to go back to try the rest!)

Daily Kauai Chicken Picture
A hen and her chick's

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