The Hawaiian Archipelago - Six Months Among The Palm Groves, Coral Reefs, And Volcanoes Of The Sandwich Islands By Isabella L. Bird

 -   The track for twenty-six miles is just
in and out of gulches, from 100 to 800 feet in depth - Page 130
The Hawaiian Archipelago - Six Months Among The Palm Groves, Coral Reefs, And Volcanoes Of The Sandwich Islands By Isabella L. Bird - Page 130 of 466 - First - Home

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The Track For Twenty-Six Miles Is Just In And Out Of Gulches, From 100 To 800 Feet In Depth, All Opening On The Sea, Which Sweeps Into Them In Three Booming Rollers.

The candle-nut or kukui (aleurites triloba) tree, which on the whole predominates, has leaves of a rich deep green when mature, which contrast beautifully with the flaky silvery look of the younger foliage.

Some of the shallower gulches are filled exclusively with this tree, which in growing up to the light to within 100 feet of the top, presents a mass and density of leafage quite unique, giving the gulch the appearance as if billows of green had rolled in and solidified there. Each gulch has some specialty of ferns and trees, and in such a distance as sixty miles they vary considerably with the variations of soil, climate, and temperature. But everywhere the rocks, trees, and soil are covered and crowded with the most exquisite ferns and mosses, from the great tree-fern, whose bright fronds light up the darker foliage, to the lovely maiden-hair and graceful selaginellas which are mirrored in pools of sparkling water. Everywhere, too, the great blue morning glory opened to a heaven not bluer than itself.

The descent into the gulches is always solemn. You canter along a bright breezy upland, and are suddenly arrested by a precipice, and from the depths of a forest abyss a low plash or murmur rises, or a deep bass sound, significant of water which must be crossed, and one reluctantly leaves the upper air to plunge into heavy shadow, and each experience increases one's apprehensions concerning the next. Though in some gulches the kukui preponderates, in others the lauhala whose aerial roots support it in otherwise impossible positions, and in others the sombre ohia, yet there were some grand clefts in which nature has mingled her treasures impartially, and out of cool depths of ferns rose the feathery coco-palm, the glorious breadfruit, with its green melon-like fruit, the large ohia, ideal in its beauty, - the most gorgeous flowering tree I have ever seen, with spikes of rose-crimson blossoms borne on the old wood, blazing among its shining many-tinted leafage, - the tall papaya with its fantastic crown, the profuse gigantic plantain, and innumerable other trees, shrubs, and lianas, in the beauty and bounteousness of an endless spring.

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