John & Anne Wiley

2017/09/19

Drought Relief?

More and stronger rains came in February, offering the promise of an end to our epic drought.

5538 Promise

5538 Promise

But also a warning that the rains might be so strong that they’d bring flood damage but not the prolonged gentler rain needed to end the drought.

160212 Warning

160212 Warning

Still, it was easiest to focus on the beauty. That rainbow over Tangerine Falls beckoned us to fly up for a closer look at the glorious changes going on in our mountains.

5529 Tangerine Top

5529 Tangerine Top

Atop the falls, ancient stones seemed to be laughing as their lichen grizzled cheeks leapt to life. Looking from that rarely visited top down the full length to the popular pool at the base, we breathed deeply of the moist air.

5542 Tangerine Mist

5542 Tangerine Mist

Even the seldom seen occasional small falls nearby was roaring.

5530 Rare Sight

5530 Rare Sight

Climbing to check SB’s Santa Ynez River water supply, we glimpsed our first snow since New Zealand’s “O.U.” adventure.

5757 Distant Snow

5757 Distant Snow

We delighted to see the dusty riverbed flowing brown amid green.

5683 Earth Colors

5683 Earth Colors

The middle of three dams on the river wore a welcome white veil.

5740 Gibraltar Spill

5740 Gibraltar Spill

Returning from our brief tour, our most popular South slope falls had grown from the prior trickle into leaping torrents.

5557 Leaping Waters

5557 Leaping Waters

Still short of a flood though, there were quiet pools of fresh water in many places.

5843 Refreshing Pause

5843 Refreshing Pause

A possibly accessible spot we’ve seen from the air and been wanting to visit was even more beautiful than usual.

5862 Hidden Haven

5862 Hidden Haven

Back at SBA the integrated estuary seemed to embrace the nourishing water just before it returned to the sea.

5649 Last Stop

5649 Last Stop

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2017/09/07

Happy Home

Even after our incredible “O.U.” adventure to Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia with lots of flying fun, we were still glad to be home. In fact, we started flying here again the very next day.

3745 Happy Home

3745 Happy Home

There had been some rain while we were gone, and things were delightfully green. Up in the hills the town’s most popular waterfalls were flowing.

4049 Popular Pools

4049 Popular Pools

A week later the greening had continued, framing our familiar airport KSBA.

1212 Greener

1212 Greener

The next time we flew, the foothills were a rolling riot of green.

1449 Green Blanket

1449 Green Blanket

Subsequent flights added clearer air for even more spectacular views of our favorite places.

4520 Clear Coast

4520 Clear Coast

Looking up State Street toward the mountains was breathtaking.

4526 Up State

4526 Up State

The placid waters off Goleta Beach were soothing.

4754 Goleta Beach

4754 Goleta Beach

At the end of January, we spotted a less-known creek pool quietly inviting visitors.

4836 Quiet Pool

4836 Quiet Pool

In mid-February there was a big gathering at western Isla Vista.

5049 I.V. Surf Gathering

5049 I.V. Surf Gathering

The U.C.S.B. campus was especially beautiful that day.

5054 U.C. Splendor

5054 U.C. Splendor

Back near town, Shoreline Park offered a sparkling green introduction to Our Town.

5093 Emerald City

5093 Emerald City

Some days there are schools of fish so big they make shifting shapes like this one sheltering near the pier.

1188 School Shape

1188 School Shape

Often the pelicans, gulls and other birds join with dolphins and other predators at such schools for a fish feast.

5109 Feeding Frenzy

5109 Feeding Frenzy

A big storm soon after muddied the water for a major change of scene.

5377 Brown Out

5377 Brown Out

A bridge project downtown was set back when the storm runoff washed away forms just when they were ready for the concrete to be poured into them.

5450 Bridge Setback

5450 Bridge Setback

But local surfers were treated to some memorable rides.

5490 Surf City

5490 Surf City

I’ll continue this catch up with more pix from our flights this year, in the next post. It’s fun to see them again while sharing them here, reminding us yet again how happy we are to be Home.

2017/08/28

Love & Letting Go

Feelings ran high, beneath the surface, as the family gathered for a last night and morning in paradise. So between collecting our things and tidying up, we paused for a few more moments enjoying the kids’ delight.

104846 Last Moments

104846 Last Moments

All too soon our last farewells were done. We began dispersing across the West in jets high over the deep waters as this journey slipped into memory over the horizon. Our own afternoon jet pointed a wing toward the parking spot of the GA plane we’d flown to Hāna at sunset.

135051 Wing Memories

135051 Wing Memories

It seemed a heartbeat until we passed yesterday’s GA takeoff, climbing toward home.

135833 Last Glance

135833 Last Glance

Watching the world turn far below, waves of memories reflected on the Pacific. At some point clear sky changed to dotted clouds yielding to a solid barrier between us and the sea. After sunset I felt the start of our descent toward LAX and opened Avare on my phone to follow along. We changed planes and in a blink we emerged again into rain below the clouds to the welcoming lights of Goleta.

FinalRwy7-SBA

Final, Runway 7, SBA

Even in the dark it was easy to pick out the familiar places we’ve flown over in small planes, and visited on the ground. As wheels touched home I snapped one last memory on this trip of a lifetime.

Touching Home

Touching Home

Writing this months later, I dimly recall the Dreams we had of that journey. I recall transforming those dreams into a solid Plan, and unfolding and adapting that Plan into a trip we actually Take. Now we Remember the trip and notice those memories softening into an evolving Dream.

It seems to me we try to hold onto the people, things and memories we love. At the same time we learn that change is constant, and often painful. Loving is the easy part for me. So perhaps the lesson is: Love is about Letting Go.

2017/08/10

Hāna Quick Tour

In the remaining few minutes before needing to return our rental plane for the next pilot, we delighted in a very quick tour of Hāna. On our honeymoon there long before my pilot license, the drive alone was enchanting. We’d lucked out with a convertible and stopped at nearly every waterfall. Often at every wide spot in the road since we wanted to let every car pass because we took turns standing up while the other drove slowly. So a quick tour was ok this time because we saw far more from the air. Like this mystical spot.

3541 Water World

3541 Water World

That deep cavern has to be awe inspiring inside, with the roar of water amid moist ancient lava stone. How few people ever get to visit this spot, or even see it briefly as we did? Daunting as the existing highway is for many visitors, it was interesting to see remnants of what is presumably an older road with bridges over magnificent waterfalls.

3549 Amazing Bridge

3549 Amazing Bridge

Even in this quick tour that was mostly above and uphill from the highway, the waterfalls passed too quickly to count. After a rainy season like the one that had prevented us flying here until our last day on Maui, it’s fun to imagine a more careful survey of that slope. Some falls are in close groups with calmer low cascades into soothing pools.

3556 Soothing Waters

3556 Soothing Waters

Some form into white fingers spreading to caress the rocks in leaps and trickles.

3567 Finger Falls

3567 Finger Falls

All too soon we passed the inviting Hāna airport and looked down over the town that seemed barely changed since our drive here some years ago.

3584 Hāna

3584 Hāna

I’ll spare you the slew of pix as we continued descending along the coast before turning back at the area we’d seen from near the crater rim only a day before. Instead here’s a sample of the beach falls we saw on our hasty return to OGG.

3650 Fresh Falls to Saltwater

3650 Fresh Falls to Saltwater

Even in the evening shadows this spot begs for a visit, offering solace amid a dynamic meeting of waters. Sea caves in the harder volcanic rock also beckon.

3676 Sea Cave

3676 Sea Cave

Some spots bring to mind a slow meandering climb up from the beach into a quiet jungle, where throbbing surf yields to the steady sound and mist of rain water returning in a tumble.

3695 Misty Canyon

3695 Misty Canyon

Splashes of red flowers inspire a deep breath as my heart imagines a refreshing dive into this pool, and a meditative moment on its shore.

3713 Touches of Red

3713 Touches of Red

Rounding a slope toward the sunset, the added light allowed our camera to better show what our eye had cherished all along this quick tour.

3726 Into Light, Into Memory

3726 Into Light, Into Memory

Minutes later our shadow joined the runway, ending our last GA magic carpet ride over these mystical islands.

3743 Shadow of Memory

3743 Shadow of Memory

From here we’d go for one last family gathering before climbing into a silver jet for magical transportation from this paradise back to the one we call Home.

2017/08/05

Flying MLM

Flying Moloka‘i, Lanai, Maui

Even the brief part of our flight starting out along the Maui coast was spectacular. But the towering falls of northeast Moloka‘i still took our breath away in this second aerial viewing, and hopefully this hazy pic conveys a tiny bit of that.

3326 Mountain Falls

3326 Mountain Falls

For perspective, each of those little green dots is a good-sized tree. I believe the one at the right in the pic Oloʻupena Falls, tallest in the U.S. (4th globally) at almost 3,000 feet. It’s eroded a groove in the cliff-face and can only be seen from the sea or by air.

As with this next one, the numerous falls often land on beaches or right in the water (especially at high tide).

3332 Beach Shower

3332 Beach Shower

I like to imagine swimming there, then having a refreshing shower in pure water. After that long zoom pic we began climbing even higher where we could see many waterfalls inland too.

3341 Higher View East

3341 Higher View East

Up on the cliff face for example, is this spot few if any people have ever been.

3353 Gathering Falls

3353 Gathering Falls

Soon we could see across Moloka‘i, with wisps of cloud clinging to the peaks.

3357 Misty Mountains

3357 Misty Mountains

Moments (and a million pix) later we reached the shore of Lānai, where this shipwreck hosts bountiful marine life. It was actually the YOGN-42 WWII concrete gasoline barge, intentionally beached here after the war.

3394 Last Port of Call

3394 Last Port of Call

Larry Ellison now owns 98% of Lānai, and wants it be a thriving 100 percent green community. It was sure green (on red earth) the day we flew part of the North edge with no time to land and explore.

3401 Lānai Green

3401 Lānai Green

In the hazy distance Lānai City was also green, with the airport tempting us beyond it. But snapping countless more pix we turned back across the water, soon crossing the coast of Maui just South of Lāhainā and slipping between mountain peaks toward Kahului.

3454 Cloud Shroud

3454 Cloud Shroud

Clinging clouds fell away from the steep jungle cliffs. From this height we could see that Hāna had happily cleared too! Nearly all the clouds that had turned us away on every previous flight, offered an invitation on this our last GA flight in this O.U. Adventure. With just enough time before needing to land, we went direct at full power in a slow descent. In no time we were rewarded with even more waterfalls. Some, like this first pic, were at nearly our level inviting a zoom pic as we began throttling back to savor the sights.

3530 Down to Hana

3530 Down to Hana

Now if you know anything about the Hāna Highway or the terrain both above and below it, you’re well aware that enchanting waterfalls abound along this flank of Haleakalā. So I’ll collect a “few” of our fave pix from that last leg of this magical round trip flight of fancy, for the next post.

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