Author Topic: Hawaii obstacles, terrain, architecture, etc.  (Read 2716 times)

Offline Ozzi

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Hawaii obstacles, terrain, architecture, etc.
« on: July 09, 2009, 01:19:59 PM »
By Gregg

There are obstacles, terrain, architecture, vegetation here in Hawaii that may be different than what you're used to.

First off is the aina, the land itself. It's almost all volcanic. The islands were created by a hot spot in the middle of the Pacific, not by faults, or continental upheaval. The lava you'll find here is mostly a'a ["ah-ah" = rough, sharp and brittle, over a heavier core] and pahoehoe ["pah-ho-ay-ho-ay" = smooth, , billowy or ropy]. Lava wiki. The land is either lava, partially eroded lava, or dirt from eroded lava.

What this means to you: If you're hiking or climbing, and see rough textured lava rock, it's probably going to be sharp and brittle. It's going to cut your shoes [or body], break when it's most inconvenient, and maybe fall out of walls if you try to climb up on it. Smooth lava is generally stronger, but beware of tubes and bubbles where the surface dried, but there's nothing below it. Even after 300+ years there are still places where you can break through if you're unlucky or stupid.

Plants: You've got native plants. Many of them are endangered. The main ones that I've had problems with are imports with thorns: bougainvillea - mounds of thorny vines with bright papery flowers, kiawe - a thorny desert shrub/ tree, and natal plum a hedge/ shrub with long lobed white flowers with 5 petals [and often a small red fruit]. Bougainvillea and natal plum are used a lot in landscaping as shrubs or hedges. Kiawe grows like a weed in dry parts of Maui [especially Kihei and Wailea]. Cactus is a problem in places - more growing wild in ranch areas than as landscaping. At least on Maui.

Architecture: Land is expensive, so you get a lot of small houses on small plots of land. Lots of cement and rock walls. Some chain link, some vinyl/ plastic fences. Apartments and condos may have grassy common areas, or shared areas with fences and walls [ie pools]. Hotels and resorts have incredible multi-level open areas, but trespassing there is enforced and prosecuted heavier than other areas. Areas by slopes usually have all sorts of stairs and landscaping. Read your guidebooks if you're going to less populated places. Rock walls with moss or lichen are probably old, may be historic. Don't jump on sacred things - heiaus, temples, churches. If God doesn't smite you, someone else might.

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