Koko Crater Botanical Garden

Hawaii doesn’t have large national parks like California or any other state on the mainland (the exception is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park). But we don’t have deep, gorgeous valleys, large Sequoia trees that stretch into the sky, or vast deserts.

No, we have gardens full of greenery.

But I was taken into a “desert” when we visited Koko Crater Botanical Garden last week. I knew that it was going to be hot, with the terrain being dusty and full of rocks–it was inside of a crater, after all.

But I didn’t know that it was going to be that different from the other gardens around Oahu.

On our way to the garden we were in the middle of the bicycle portion of the Tinman Olymic Triathalon on Kalanianaole Highway. Cones and cops were sectioning off a lane on the road, and continued until halfway up to the garden.

We arrived at 7:30am and after passing the security guard sitting at a picnic table under the shade we went to grab a brochure from the mailbox. We read the sign describing the garden and headed off, following the Loop Trail signs to the plumeria section. Even in the desert-like conditions, they were pretty. Among the grown ones, we noticed a bunch getting ready to bloom on some bushes.

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So picturesque

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A group of plumeria

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Baby plumeria

After following a pair of hikers on the trail, we ended up in the Americas section, which was an area with a lot of cacti: tall, strange looking ones, ones that looked like bushes, and round ones were all scattered on the terrain, up and down a hill. The weather was starting to get cool, and the view in front of us reminded me of being in Arizona or the Nevada desert.

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Are we still in Hawaii?

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It was MUCH larger (and thornier!) from where I was standing

We thought we were following the path, but ended up veering off of it a bit when we reached the Madagascar section. The path we were on became more narrow as we continued walking, so we cut through some plants and got back on track.

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More cacti!

Throughout the 2-mile loop trail there were shady spots to stand under, and a nice gentle breeze. It wasn’t sweltering hot, but we needed water once we arrived back to the car!

As we were making our way down the to entrance we noticed more people coming: families and couples decked out in hats, shirts, shorts, and shoes. One woman I saw was wearing sandals and jeans. (She must’ve been sweating after).

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So high up

Since the garden was next door to Koko Crater Stables, we stopped to watch two girls ride very groomed horses. The muffled sound of the hooves on grass filled the (mostly) silent atmosphere with noise.

We completed the hike at 9am and made our way back to town. Out of the gardens that we visited, Koko Crater Botanical Garden is different: besides the obvious dirt paths and heat, it’s more of a hike than a leisurely walk (but I guess you could do that), and the plants are different from what Foster’s or Ho’omaluhia have on display too, which shows the diversity of Hawaii’s ecological system. It was a fun way to spend a Sunday morning.

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The Arts

lead-to-creativity

The arts were an important aspect of my childhood: if I wasn’t in band or reading, what would I be doing? I wasn’t good at math, and while science was interesting, I didn’t like dealing with numbers. Music has numbers too, but it’s not complex like measurements.

When I heard about public schools cutting the arts to pay more attention to exercise, I was disappointed. When my university football program made itself to be in dire need of funds and pushing humanities to the side, I was shocked. People give money to athletic programs, but the arts get left with nothing.

Why?

Now, Trump wants to eliminate the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and its sister agency National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). These are federally funded programs that have done so much for rural America, and saving lives through drawing, painting, reading, writing, music and theater.

I can’t explain the need for continued funding for the Arts in this post, but this article in Paste Magazine can, by looking at how low-income, at-risk children and war veterans will be affected by the proposed cut. And this article in Quartz, documenting how important the NEH is to America’s story.

Yes, we all need to know basic math. We need to embrace technology at work and learn how to use a computer and some software. We need to exercise and be healthy. But we also need to be creative and express who we are. You can’t express your feelings in a spreadsheet.

Starbucks Cups

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foxnews.com

Starbucks released limited edition spring cups yesterday to kick off spring. I haven’t seen these cups in the store that I go to, but I get happy just from looking at photos of them. Especially the ones with the doodles.

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foxnews.com

Each cup color represents a different drink size–green for tall, blue for grande and yellow for venti. Stores will be carrying both the blank and decorated versions.

These cups are cute and all, but I have a problem: I don’t order hot drinks so I can’t take one of these cups with me (or any of their other seasonal cups). So that got me thinking, ‘Why doesn’t Starbucks release designs for their plastic cups too?’

I understand that it’s cold in parts of the United States so nobody is ordering a frappuccino in snowy weather, however, Starbucks should consider decorating their plastic cups too.

Maybe for summer? Beach designs? A sunny day?