Sunday, November 30, 2008

Left Coast Farm...Long Mountain Coffee

Kim Johnson epitomizes the core values of the Kona Coffee farmer.  She runs Left Coast Farm like a one man band, and yet this three acre plot of heaven in the rising slopes of Honaunau is one of Kona's finest coffees.  Left Coast Farm won second place in the Gevalia Cup in 2005, and she grows, harvests, packages and markets her coffee under two brands, Left Coast Farm and Long Mountain Coffee.  While her husband Lewis continues his work at USC in Los Angeles, Kim is in Honaunau for extended periods running the farm from their amazing bungalow in the sky high above Kealekekua Bay and the City of Refuge, 2000 vertical feet below.

Kim is extremely active in the Kona Coffee community, and makes the most of her coffee growing enterprise, tirelessly keeping the farm going while upgrading both the cottage and the tending to the triangular forest of  coffee trees. Above you see the view from the back porch of her bungalow, looking down towards the ocean.

Here is Kim standing on the other end of that porch, a recent addition to the house, next to an Oheo Tree column from the notable hardwood tree felled on her property a year ago.  Kim produces around 3000 pounds of coffee a year, and its quality is consistently amazing.  The farm is actually on the lower slopes of Mauna Loa volcano, hence the name for one brand, for Mauna Loa means Long Mountain in Hawaiian. The label for Long Mountain Coffee is meant to resemble a wine bottle, and this is fitting, as the boutique coffee chateaus of Honaunau are to coffee what the small boutique wineries of Napa and Sonoma are to wine. Her Left Coast Farm brand comes in a vibrant cloth bag, but both brands reveal their true colors when brewed and poured in a cup, a sumptuous, rich, full bodied coffee with a glowing aroma and a deep smooth taste. Kim is a vibrant hard working and captivating woman who enjoys the challenge of running a coffee farm and is no stranger to hard work and long hours.  

You can find Left Coast Farm and Long Mountain Coffee on the internet at two websites: and or call 808 328 9039.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kona Rain Forest Farms

Kona Rain Forest Farms is, without question, the Devil Dog's favorite Kona Coffee.  This is casting no aspersions on the numerous other amazing coffee farms in Kona, which are abundant in quality and devotion to their craft, but Kona Rain Forest Farms, for the Devil Dog, has a significant qualitative twist that sets it apart....the roasting. Set in the far southern reaches of Honaunau, at mile marker 95, Kona Rain Forest Farms roasts its orders on Monday, and ships them out Monday night, so when you receive your order on Wednesday it practically leaps from the bag.  The freshness and aroma when you open the bag is intoxicating, the taste is extraordinary, the quality speaks for itself.  Kona Rain Forest came in third place this year in the Gevalia Cup competition, its first time finishing in the top three, though it has been a finalist several times.  Most importantly, Kona Rain Forest Farms was selected from a number of estate coffees to be served at the White House on special occasions, the first time for the National Governors Conference three years ago.  Since then the White House has ordered Kona Rain Forest Farms  coffee another 10 times or so, and with Hawaii native Barack Obama taking office in January the Devil Dog sees no reason to expect it to change.

Owners Robert and Dawn Barnes have owned the farm since shortly after that first order, having been trained in its operation by original owners Howard and Stephanie Conant. Howard and Stephanie were ardent ocean going sailors, having taken numerous trips from Australia to California in their 51 foot aluminum sailboat before settling in Kona and carving out the coffee farm from the virgin rain forest. Robert and Dawn have continued their meticulous organic tradition and taken it to the next level, expanding the coffee acreage from 5 to 9 acres, instituting reforms in cultivation and processing, while maintaining an excellence and attention to detail that is unsurpassed in quality and consistency.

Kona Rain Forest Farms coffee can be purchased over the internet at or by phone at 808 329 1941.

The farm itself is 20 acres or more, with a guest house on the property that is available for rental. Set at 2200 feet above sea level, the farm has coffee trees growing in several fields both above the main house on a rising peak and in a natural bowl, and below the mill and roasting house in a sloping extravaganza of extraordinary beauty. It truly feels like a different planet, an oasis of amazing beauty with a crop of incredible richness.

Last year Robert and Dawn sold almost 50,000 pounds of their coffee, an amazing feat in terms of keeping their quality so high while expanding their production. They had spent 18 years in Papua New Guinea learning and teaching indigenous languages, building and maintaining health clinics before returning to Seattle, building and selling several internet businesses, and then buying Kona Rain Forest from Howard and Stephanie.  Howard would not sell to just anyone. He had built this from scratch and passed on his techniques to Robert and Dawn, effectively apprenticing them to assure the continued growth and success of Kona Rain Forest. He succeeded magnificently.  

Above you see their Hashi Danna where the beans are dried before milling.  Below is Robert and Dawn standing on the porch of their house as the Pacific Ocean stands ourt in the distance below.

Kona Rain Forest Farms is the peak of what Kona Coffee is all about.  The Devil Dog urges you to check out their web site,, and order some coffee. Like all 100% Kona coffee, it is an extraordinary product, only more so.  

Friday, November 28, 2008

Pau Hana Estate

Pau Hana Estate is  one of Kona's finest coffee farms, with a heritage stretching back more than a dozen years. Current owners Carol Weaver and Sandy Masterson live on five acres of sheer paradise at the top of Koa road in Captain Cook.  The farm is at an elevation of 2400 feet, produces superior organic coffee, is impeccably groomed, and has views all the way to the ocean.  Pau Hana Estate won second place in the Gevalia Cup in 2006, and in its previous incarnation as Woods Captain Cook Estate under early coffee pioneers Merle and Kathy Wood it won first place in 2001 and third place in 2002.  Carol and Sandy have continued this tradition of excellence and are an integral part of the Kona Coffee community.  

Their coffee can be purchased over the internet at or by calling them at 808 328 8099. It is hard to understate the richness of their coffee, the powerful aroma of their beans in the bag and its smooth full throated taste in the cup. Pau Hana Estate stands out as one of the most distinctive coffees in Kona, and one of my favorites. 

As readers of the Devil Dogs recent columns on Kona Coffee may have noticed, Pau Hana is part of the legendary Captain Cook or Koa Road ahupuaa, which also boasts Kuaiwi Farm, J Yokoyama (Kona Bob), and Koa Farms.   As always, the Devil Dog heartily encourages you to support the estate coffee farmers of Kona by buying their product directly over the internet. 100% estate grown Kona Coffee not only makes a perfect gift, but also supports the independent entreprenurial artisan farmer crafting a fine high quality product.  

Pau Hana Estate upholds the finest aspects of that tradition, and Carol and Sandy have taken their corner of paradise and continue to be a leading player in  premium Kona Coffee market. Check out their web site at  

Hidden Home off Bamboo Road

Driving down the narrow one lane Bamboo Road in the hills above Captain Cook the Devil Dog spied this hidden two story A-frame home in the center of about four acres of property behind a wall of young banana trees.  The picture resonates with me somehow....a depiction of a lifestyle set back from the stresses of modern society, a hidden oasis in the hills of paradise, a reality that one can still find refuge from the rigors of life without giving up the amenities of modern society.   Hawaii, and the southern reaches of Kona in particular, abounds in such properties, places where the individual can find their own private nirvana in the boundlss realm of the mid-Pacific.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

On this great American holiday let us all be thankful for the blessings of a rich life  in a great country on a planet on the verge of monumental positive change.  One cannot help but be uplifted at the possibilities that lie ahead in spite of the struggles of a somewhat volatile year.  

The Devil Dog is grateful for all the blessings of a life lived in sync with the moment, cast about to the ends of the earth, blown across the sky in aluminum tubes of passenger airlines to discover the joys of the distant reaches of the planet.  He is grateful for his wife and family, his friends and his cats, and all those along the way who have touched his heart or become a part of his life.  He knows that riches come from the heart and not the pocketbook, and that the least expensive item in life is the joy of being aware of just how special it is to take the full measure of each moment we have.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Honaunau House in the Sky

Mystical magical Honaunau is an amazing place, and the Devil Dog has frequently imagined the joy of living in a house set high above the trees with a commanding view of the rain forest and the ocean below.  There are a lot of them this house.  Just above Left Coast Farms, one of my favorite coffee farms, sits the home of owner Kim Johnson's neighbor, a beautiful isolated structure with a commanding view of  all that lies about and beyond. The coffee trees build to a peak and surround this glory of a home that sits like a castle in the sky in the radiant sunlight of a brilliant day.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kuaiwi Farm -Una and Leon

Una Greenaway and Leon Rosner have a Kona Coffee pedigree that is hard to beat.  Last year Kuaiwi Farm won  the Gevalia Cup, placing first by a wide margin, and this year they placed second.  The consistent excellence of their coffee owes as much to the integrity of their organic farming as to the rich soil of their incredible location.  Kuaiwi Farm is in Captain Cook, up Koa Road and tucked away into a five acre corner of the mountain off Bamboo Road.  Their neighbors have pedigree too - award winning coffees J Yokoyoma (Kona Bob), Pau Hana Coffee and Koa Farms are all on this same ahupuaa, this same wedge of land.  In the picture above you can see Una And Leon with a 100 pound bag of green coffee. 

Una and Leon are meticulous about their coffee, picking the beans themselves at the peak of ripeness.  Their coffee can be ordered over the internet at or by calling 808 - 328- 8888.  Above you see Una out among her coffee trees.                                                      

There is much more to their farm than coffee. They grow taro, cocao, and make their own chocolate, macadamia nut butter, and lilikoi (passion fruit) jelly, all of which can be ordered over the internet. They live in two geodesic domes attached by a connective structure.  The Devil Dog was amazed at the beauty of their property, their sheer determination to live in paradise on terms that are at one with their natural environment. It is an idyllic, committed, joyous and hard working existence.

Their property even contains a number of jaboticaba trees, a South American fruit similar to acai, whose fruit grows right on the bark of the tree, as seen in the picture above, and which tastes indescribably delicious, like a ripe plum meets a concord grape.

Una and Leon will produce about 1500 pounds of ultra quality coffee, which they call Kona Old Style, and  which almost always sells out every season.  In addition to their stellar achievement in and commitment to Kona coffee they exemplify a lifestyle that is in sync with the very essence of what modern life in Hawaii can be if you seek it out.

The day the Devil Dog showed up they were making chocolate in the kitchen....actual chocolate from cacao they grow themselves, an enormously special and complicated process involving harvesting and fermenting the cacao bean.  You say you never saw a cacao bean before.  Neither had the Devil Dog.  Thats it in the picture above, a particularly large and ripe pod from one of many cacao trees on their farm

Be sure to visit their    Mahalo.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Da Kine Coffee Bean

One of my all time favorite Kona Coffee's is Terry Fitzgerald's Da Kine Coffee Bean, winner of the prestigious Gevalia Cup in 1997.   Terry is one of the true original pioneers in the resurgence of Kona Coffee.  He came to Kona in 1970, an itinerant geo-physicist and Kerouac inspired hippie, found an old overgrown coffee farm in the highlands of Honaunau, 1.2 miles up a twisting trail above the Hawaiian Telephone switching station, and restored the farm to a functioning, flourishing coffee plantation.

Terry has 4 acres of coffee, and to prove the land and soil is no fluke, his neighbor on the mountain, Pat Pearlman, won the Gevalia Cup for her farm exactly 10 years after Terry.  Terry is one of the true spirits of Ohana (family) in Kona Coffee, and he retains an air of regal self awareness in one of the most beautiful spots in Hawaii.  In the picture above you see Terry raking his beans on the roof of his house, in a Japanese platform called a hashi dani. 

Terry's coffee is available over the internet at or by calling 808 - 328 - 8716.  He has kept his prices amazingly low compared to his competitors.  I asked him why and he said "We make a pretty good living and I just like to jeep my prices where people can afford them".  Terry produces about 5000 pounds of coffee a year.  This is one of the all time great Kona Coffees and a perfect Christmas gift.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Keiki in the street

The kids were out in force at the Holualoa Coffee and Art Stroll street festival. Above a young girl sits in front a coffee cherry laurel wreath, while below two young girls perform a hula while their grandmother accompanies them on the ukulele.

Keiki is Hawaiian for child or little, and it is always nice to see the keiki out in the street taking part in the cultural life of the islands as traditions are passed on to a new generation.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Saturday afternoon .....Holualoa Street Festival

Holualoa is the sleepiest of towns, an art colony, a lovely village in the sky and the site of the Holualoa Street Fest on the first Saturday of the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival... Coffee farms from Holualoa to Honaunau display their wares in kiosks and the street fills with people. For Boutique coffee farms of unquestionable pedigree and single vineyard distinction it is  an opportunity to gather together, for much of coffee selling is an internet affair. But its quite lovely, and lets you visit with and taste the wares of dozens of fabulous Kona coffee farms

Holualoa was where coffee farming was revived by japanese farmers in the 1890's.  The people in the picture above, the owners and progenitors of Waiaha River Coffee Company, are the third generation of their family to grow and sell this coffee, direct descendents of the original farmers.

The former buddhist temple in Holualoa has been turned into a private residence in the middle of town, but what a beautiful cottage in the sky.

Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort Hotel

While in Kona for the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival the Devil Dog stayed at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort Hotel, in a fabulous 4th floor oceanfront room overlooking the scene above, waves crashing against a steller point of land carved from an ancient lava flow.

The bar at night has the added attraction of consistantly attracting a festival of manta rays just offshore through the use of floodlights, and as cool as that seems, there are actually snorkeling excursions thru Fairwind Tours to swim amongst the manta rays on a night dive.

The hotel is beautifully appointed, fabulously located, and features a lovely pool, water slide, full service spa, and a terrific restaurtant, Kai, featuring excellent fresh seafood.  It also served as a perfect base to explore the coffee farms high above in Holualoa, just above in Keauhou, or just down the road a bit in Kealekekua, Captain Cook and the legendary Honaunau.

Thank you  Sheraton for a fabulous week and a terrific base of operations.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We have a Winner

The Devil Dog was there this afternoon when this years Gevalia Cup winners were announced at the Outrigger Keauhou Resort Hotel on the ocean in Kona where King Kalakau had a beach home in the 1880's and very near where King Kamehameha III was born .  56 classic entries and 12 Crown Estates (larger farms) competed to be the best of Kona Coffee, 100% Kona Coffee, individual estates where a farmer grows, processes, markets and sells his hand crafted product in much the way that great winemakers craft their wine in Napa and Sonoma.

The winner this year was Debbie Hoshide of Hoshide Farms in far southern Honaunau.  Debbie was overwhelmed by the victory, which was completely unexpected. You see Debbie doesn't even have a private label product. She sells all her product to Greenwell Farms, all 7000 pounds of it, where it was packed and sold along with Tommy's beans as Greenwell Farms. Well count this as a victory for Tommy as well for it speaks well as to the quality of his product.  But Tommy will soon be issuing a Hoshide Farms sub-brand, or Debbie will be putting out one herself, for demand will soar.  Congratulations to a woman with a fine plot of land that becomes the southernmost farm to win in the history of the Gevalia.

Second place went to Una Greenaway and her husband Leon and their Kuaiwi Farm, last years first place winner. Leon and Una are in Captain Cook, and their organic farm showed its chops again this year, but why not. These people are a rock of integrity in Kona Coffee, living in geodesic domes an 4 acres of sheer heaven up Koa Rd, and back into a corner of the mountain off Bamboo Road.
The third place finisher is actually one of my favorite coffee farms in all of Kona,  Kona Rain Forest Farms, and their owners Robert and Dawn Barnes, whose farms lies even further south than Hoshide frams, at mile marker 95. Though it is their first top three finish in the history of Kona Rain Forest coffee they have the distinction of having been chosen to be served on multiple occasions at special functions at the White House. Among other reasons....they roast on Monday and ship it to you Monday night. When you open that bag on Wednesday its like a special love delivery.  We'll visit them later.

The Crown title for larger farms, who will sell 3000 pounds of their coffee on Gevalia's website in a special co-branding, went to Kowali Farm, 10 acres of dedication farmed by Rita for the last 32 years, and a deserving  farm that is actually small by comparison to the size of its competitors in this category.

Congratulations to all the winners. The Devil Dog is thrilled to know two of these winning growers well, and will go further into the farms and environs of many of his favorite farmers in future posts.


 Hawaiians traditionally divided the land into Ahupuaa, a wedge like pie shaped geographical division that stretched from the ocean at its widest to the top of the local mountain at its apex.  This way a given chief would have fish ponds and ocean for fishing and harvesting, lowlands for agriculture and highlands for hunting, providing all their needs.

During the current Kona Coffee Cupping competition the 16 semifinalists in the classic division were announced and there was several striking similarities which we call the Ahupuaa difference, and which we have seen as a similarity in past winners.  4 semifinalists came from the Keauhou region, and all four farms were literally right next door to each other - Buddhas Cup Estate, Imagine Coffee, Kona Earth and in the Crown (big farm) division, Kona Kulana farms. In addition, last years 2nd place winner, Malia Ohana, is right next door to these 4 farms.  Thus the Keauhou Ahupuaa is definitely a stand out for Kona Coffee this year, particularly when you consider that the old Kulana farm won the Gevalia cup twice in the  1990's.

Similarly, in Captain Cook, last years first place farm, Kuaiwi Farm, and third place farm J. Yokoyama, are literally 500 yards apart off Koa road, Just above them is previous winners Pau Hana Coffee and Koa Coffee, thus making what we can call the Captain Cook or Koa Ahupuaa a significant coffee land area.  Further down in Honaunau, on one stretch of land off of what is called Telephone Trunk road, a twisting barely paved trail leading miles up into the rainforest, named after the Hawaiian Telephone building off Hwy. 11, is Terry Fitzgeralds Da Kine Coffee Farm, winner of the Gevalia cup in 1997, and right next door to Terry's place, literally across a trail and adjoining his land, is Pat Pearlman's Pearl Estate coffee, which won the Gevalia Cup two years ago, making them, in my mind, the Lafite and Margaux of Kona Coffee and making the Telephone trunk line a star studded Ahupuaa of its own.

Its just a theory, and elevation and other factors could easily be at work, but soil and terroir of a similar Ahupuaa could be a predictive factor in high quality coffee. We will find out today when the winners are announced. STAY TUNED!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Holualoa Street Fest

The tiny village of Holualoa was the kick off point for the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, as a street fair was held in the artists colony high above the town of Kona.  Holualoa was where coffee cultivation began in Kona over 100 years ago as Japanese laborers, newly freed from indentured servitude in the cane and pineapple fields of the islands and facing discrimination in hiring and lacking jobs began cultivating coffee in the highlands here.  

Now 100 years later Kona Coffee has become a highly specialized gourmet product grown by over 600 farmers, who range from aging (OK, mature) hippies, to third generation Japanese families, to neuveau riche investors, to retirees seeking a lifestyle of gentleman farmer, to everything in between.  The bottom line is that Kona Coffee is the best coffee on the planet, and with dozens of highly sophisticated organic farms producing between 1000 lbs to, say 10,000 pounds a year of this amazing product, it is not an exageration to call them the Boutique Coffee Chateaus of Holualoa, Kealekekua, Captain Cook and Honaunau.  

The Devil Dog knows many of these farmers individually and has been buying their product over the internet for years. A pound of 100% Kona Coffee can range from $20 - $36  and is well worth the cost. You routinely pay $50 or more for a bottle of good wine and its gone in a night. A pound of coffee may last you weeks or more, depending on how you drink it, and you will never taste coffee like this. 

Make sure you buy ONLY 100% Kona coffee from individual farms. There is a glut of an inferior product called Kona Blend which IS ONLY 10% Kona coffee and 90% inferior south and central american beans.  This is an ongoing scandal denigrating and despoiling the beauty of 100% Kona coffee. You wouldn't take a bottle of Chateau Lafite and blend it with a bottle of Sebastiani table wine. The Devil Dog is emphatic on this point:  ONLY BUY 100% Kona Coffee direct from the coffee maker. Support real farmers who craft their product the way real winemakers craft their wine. More on this as our week progresses.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Welcome to the Kona Coffee Festival

The Devil Dog is in Kona, at the luxurious Sheraton Keauhou Hotel, on a beautiful promontory right on the ocean, and home of the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition and the prestigious Gevalia Cup, awarded to the best coffee farm in Kona.  Kona is the Napa and Sonoma of coffee, home to hundred of boutique farmers who grow, harvest package, market and sell their product directly from the tree to you.  Below is the view outside my hotel room, as waves crash against the rocks in an epic tableau that has gone on for a millennium.

We will cover the festival and all its attendant events on a daily basis, visiting individual farms, taking in the sights of Honaunau, Kealekekua, Holualoa and Captain Cook, culminating in the competition later this week and the crowning of the winner of the Gevalia Cup.  

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Seismic Wonder

It has been quite an election season, with a blockbuster finish that I think, regardless of party or political persuasion, we can all be proud of as Americans.  The Devil Dog is a patriot, and I am sure that all of us wish President Obama and our country well as we embark on the next four years of the great American adventure.  

The events of the last week, and the last two years, can only be described as seismic, and with that in mind we thought we would take an aerial view of Kilauea Iki volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. Always a fan of helicopter tours and the perspective it provides, above we see the center of a bubbling volcanic cauldren.  Below is the view from inside the cockpit as our pilot from Blue Hawaiian Helicopters circles the volcano below.

The Devil Dog departs for Kona tomorrow, where for the next 9 days we will cover the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, culminating in the awarding of this years coveted Gavalia Cup to the outstanding coffee farm in Kona.  Hawaii is always an amazing place, and this trip will let us look at Honaunau, Kealekekua, and Holualoa in depth as we explore a slice of Hawaii that is largely unchanged from 100 years ago, where some growers actually live off the grid with catchment water and solar power.

So we leave the election season with a look at a genuine flaming cauldren as it erupts with volcanic magma from deep inside the earth.  The steaming warfare of our political system is no match for the power of the earth itself, but our vision of the future is intact as America moves foward into the 21st century.

With that in mind the Devil Dog declares a break from politics and an immersion into the beauty and glory of the Big Island of Hawaii.  See you Kona.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


The Devil Dog has frequently mused that Oahu is the most beautiful island in Hawaii, but these days is all too frequently passed over as people head straight to Maui, Kauai or the Big Island. Thats fine, as those are amazing places, but when I was a boy, growing up on Oahu in the 60's and 70's, coming to Hawaii meant Oahu and Waikiki, and not without reason. Oahu has the best surf and the finest beaches in all of the Hawaiian Islands.  Here's an example.  Above is a picture I took last year of Makapuu,  where, along with nearby Sandy Beach, I spent many a day at the beach as a youth, 35 - 40 years ago.  The point is that it looks exactly the same as it did when I was a boy. How many places can you say that about.  

I'll tell you one...Oahu.  From the North Shore to the two lane highway down the windward side past the Crouching Lion on the windward side, and as seen below, the rugged stretch of coastal road from Hanouma Bay to  Sandy Beach, just around the point from Makapuu, is exactly the same as it was when the Devil Dog was twelve, and would frolic a day away body surfing and enjoying a paradise that remains unchanged, unsullied, to this day, 40 years later.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hana hideaways

The secret corners of Hana are so myriad as to be redundant.  In all my travels, and all my time in Hawaii I can literally say that I have never seen a more remote, more spectacularly beautiful place than Hana.  Its not just the 3 1/2 hour trip down a twisting two lane road over 55 one lane bridges to get there. That is impressive enough. Its the 17 miles that come afterward, all the way to the end of the road, literally, a mile past Kipahulu.  With the possible exception of Big Sur, which is awesome in manners that cannot even be contemplated, Hana surpases even that, if not principally because Big Sur has millions of visitors a year streaming up highway 1, while Hana is so remote that it has spectacularly lower numbers of visits, even from the hordes that swarm to Maui.  Most of them that do come make the day trip, driving to Hana and returning soon after that same day....what a waste.  Spend a week....take your life off the hook...indulge in the very essence of primal beauty.

It defies true description, so the Devil Dog will illustrate a brief synopsis.  Above is a picture of Makahiku falls, one of a number of waterfalls on the hike to sprawling Waimuku falls several miles up a winding, steep trail over wooden bridges, through bamboo forests, and across bubbling streams.  Early in the trail you hear a raging falls, and move over to a cliffside where you are rewarded with this view, a stunning waterfall tumbling hundreds of feet into one of the legendary 7 Sacred Pools, now known as the Pools of Oheo.  Another half mile up the trail you cross one of a series of bridges overlooking this stunning picture below, a double waterfall, tumbling into two more of the "sacred pools" in a scene that has played out in secret for a millennium, and today is only seen by the intrepid.  But what a priceless view.

The 17 miles from Hana to Kipahulu may be the current location of the Garden of Eden, but the area just east of town is startling for its unspoiled black sand beaches and unsullied acreage of simple homes,many of them off the grid.  Hana is a place where the energy of the human spirit is enveloped with nature in a manner that is truly revelatory.  Seeking its refuge is as close as the will to go there.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Downtown Telluride

Telluride is actually two towns, the original town of Telluride, as seen above from the gondola coming down the mountainside, and Mountain Village, where the ski resort itself is, several thousand feet further up the mountainside. The Gondola is actually the mass transit system between the two towns. Descending from the the top, the village looks like a fairyland emerging out of the snow.  Below is  the historic city hall at the center of town.  Telluride has roughly 2000 year round residents, is perfectly located in a box canyon, and is easy to get around in, with almost everything worth seeing being on Main Street (with most of the shopping) and Oak Street (with most of the restaurants).

The town itself is filled with wonderous architecture that veers from old school Victorian to simple western ranch house.  Below is a row of homes that have been converted into restaurants. On the hill side above them are the legendary front side diamond runs.  

Back up at mountain village we have a clear view of the San Juan mountain range.

And here is a shot of the gondola which takes you from the town of Telluride to Mountain Village and back.