Mosses of the Alaka'i swamp could forest of Kauai, HW, USA

Tom Barr

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One of the placed I'd often wanted to visit if I ever got a chance to go to Kauai was one of the wettest places on earth, the swamp forest right below Mt Wai'aleale. Kauai is among the oldest of the Hawaiian islands and certainly the wettest.

An average(not just a wet year) of 451 inches of rain falls here, but only 40 inches at the beaches below, this is around 38 ft of rain a year. Rarely is the mountain seen, always covered in clouds.

A true rainforest has a huge number of epiphtyes, the swamp forest here did not let me down there. Moss and ferns attack any dead(and live) wood and recycle the nutrients. This ecosystem has been stable this way for about 5 million years or more.

This is a view from about 4200ft looking down at the Na Pali coast, water falls are covering the pali.
The trail is a slippery clay mess, and not one for folks that give up easily. 2 miles will seem like 6-8 miles really fast.
We got lucky, clouds lifted here and there, even some sunshine.

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After 2miles, we got to the board walk trail.
Very nice after the mess prior but just past the turn around point for perhaps 80-90% of the hikers.
I think it was a reward for those more willing to suffer and trick to others not so hardy?

They had a small sign saying caution, "trail slippery when wet" about 3 miles in.
Really?

Along the trail, none of the plants and moss where damaged, seems folks respect things this far out.
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Tom Barr
 

Tom Barr

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Having seen both, Twain was correct in stating that this was the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.
Nicer waterfalls though.

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I swam under this and took my sweet time swimming and sitting under the falls here.
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Damn geckos, took over the island, and they sell insurance.
l
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Tom Barr
 

Tom Barr

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This is on Oahu at the Valley of the Temple not far from where Obama stayed, had a "Snowbama" shaved ices, not bad.

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Tom Barr
 

aquabillpers

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Just great photos! Thanks for sharing!

it's too bad that the owners of that handsome restaurant stocked carp in their ponds. Hawaii already has many non-native species, but carp would be among the more destructive if they became established.

Maybe they have already infested that island, though.

Bill
 

Tom Barr

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Carp are hardly an issue, the Guava tree, the Pig and mongoose are among the worst.

Really tough to remove things from such terrain. Fortunately, the area is relatively small and isolated.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

milesm

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Hi Tom,

hope you enjoyed your stay in Hawai`i. i've seen those mosses here on Oahu too. btw, i wouldn't advise swimming in our freshwater streams and ponds--leptospirosis is quite widespread.

coqui frogs are a problem on the Big Island.
 

Tom Barr

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Just got back from the Santa Cruz mountains south of SF. the amount of moss and ferns, etc is less, but still extremely high. Dry most of the year, but in all it's glory right now.
We have far more lichens than Hawaii, that much is easy to see.

A bit less moss, similar species in morphology.

I brought some how to play with.
Fog cloud forest are common here.

The northern regions, north of Eureka are really nice also.
I'll post some pics a bit later.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

S&KGray

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Just came across this thread, very nice pictures Tom.

I am very lucky to have been born and raised on Kauai. I have only been on the Alaka'i Swamp trail a couple of times. We sometimes take it for granted growing up here. :)
 

Tom Barr

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S&KGray;47036 said:
Just came across this thread, very nice pictures Tom.

I am very lucky to have been born and raised on Kauai. I have only been on the Alaka'i Swamp trail a couple of times. We sometimes take it for granted growing up here. :)

I go all over the state I live in, if I had to live spomewhere, you can bet I'll crawl over nearly every spot, over a few years/month's time.
I travel a lot in CA and get outside the state often as well.

I think the trail to the swamp prevents more from going and even fewer from returning.
You are lucky, there are lots of wood and moss to use foir aquariums there.
Non native Guava works very well, reddish, looks a bit like manzanita, typically rots nicely into nice shapes with the outer ring harder than the center, ohia, but that's best left alone.
I suspect most of the mosses you find near the streams will work fine.

Girlfriend is Hawaiian so we now travel to a different island each time we come back.
I would be okay living there, I'd go after those damn chickens and make it my life's work to eradicate them, as well as as many non natives I could and work with the ag and park folks.

Regards,
Tom Barr
Regards,
Tom Barr
 

S&KGray

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Tom Barr;47044 said:
I go all over the state I live in, if I had to live spomewhere, you can bet I'll crawl over nearly every spot, over a few years/month's time.
I travel a lot in CA and get outside the state often as well.

I think the trail to the swamp prevents more from going and even fewer from returning.
You are lucky, there are lots of wood and moss to use foir aquariums there.
Non native Guava works very well, reddish, looks a bit like manzanita, typically rots nicely into nice shapes with the outer ring harder than the center, ohia, but that's best left alone.
I suspect most of the mosses you find near the streams will work fine.

Girlfriend is Hawaiian so we now travel to a different island each time we come back.
I would be okay living there, I'd go after those damn chickens and make it my life's work to eradicate them, as well as as many non natives I could and work with the ag and park folks.

Regards,
Tom Barr

I haven't done much collecting of wood from forested areas, I will try to do so when I get the chance. I was wondering about the mosses, I will probably try some of those when I get the chance.
 

Tom Barr

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S&KGray;47049 said:
I haven't done much collecting of wood from forested areas, I will try to do so when I get the chance. I was wondering about the mosses, I will probably try some of those when I get the chance.

Look on the north sides, particularly on the wet forest stream gullies, and ravines. The wood in the understory often is reddish and has good character. Shipping wood and sand etc to the islands seems pointless to me.
Sort of goes against the philosophy of many things there. Mosses nearest to the stream, and you might also consider tanks that come up above the water nd also get sunlight some part of the day, or lots of indirect light.
No need for a heater there also.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

S&KGray

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Tom Barr;47072 said:
Look on the north sides, particularly on the wet forest stream gullies, and ravines. The wood in the understory often is reddish and has good character. Shipping wood and sand etc to the islands seems pointless to me.
Sort of goes against the philosophy of many things there. Mosses nearest to the stream, and you might also consider tanks that come up above the water nd also get sunlight some part of the day, or lots of indirect light.
No need for a heater there also.

Regards,
Tom Barr

I totally agree about the wood and sand. I have always locally collected both and also rocks, though the wood I have is mostly driftwood. I have seen lots of mosses on the banks/rocks while exploring streams and ditches looking for aquatic plants.

Yep, I have only used heaters temporarily for raising the temp when treating for ich.