The rainforest…Where are they?…We hiked in a triple canopy rainforest…One year ago, a favorite photo from Le Louvre…

As we made our way through a portion of the triple canopy rainforest we encountered two lakes, a creek, and a river. This is the saltwater lake. Tomorrow, we’ll be posting photos of the freshwater lake, the river, and the creek which included a wildlife surprise.

Many of us have the perception is that there is only one major rainforest in the world, the largest in the Amazon River Basin in South America. And yet, there are rainforests throughout the world.

The sign at the entrance to the rainforest boardwalk.

“The largest rainforests are in the Amazon River Basin (South America), the Congo River Basin (western Africa), and throughout much of southeast Asia. Smaller rainforests are located in Central America, Madagascar, Australia and nearby islands, India, and other locations in the tropics.

For more information on rainforests throughout the world, please click here.

As shown in the above map, we’ve already visited rainforests in Central America while we lived in Belize, formerly British Honduras and also as we’ve visited many islands on various cruises and now in our backyard.  If we could climb the steep hill behind the house, we’d be in the rainforest.

Leaves changing color in the rainforest.

As with most forests, walking through a rainforest isn’t easy unless one carries a  machete if the trails aren’t available. Australia, in its infinite wisdom and devoted to its natural resources, makes hiking through many of their rainforests relatively easy.

Spindly tree.

At least on four prior occasions since our arrival over two months ago we’ve had an opportunity to enter rainforests located in Queensland. Yesterday, was no exception when we headed back to the area of the Cairns Botanic Gardens where across the road is the entrance to an extensive trail through an area of rainforest we’d yet to explore.

Sunlight filtering into the dense triple canopy rainforest, which connotes dense vegetation on the ground, the center and the treetops blocking out sunlight.  An occasional opening allowed for sunlight to filter through.
As for the Australian rainforests:

“Millions of years ago, Australia, New Zealand and the island of New Guinea formed part of a great forested southern continent, isolated from the rest of the world. Today these countries contain many different species of animal that occur nowhere else.  Undergrowth in Australia’s tropical forests is dense and lush. The forests lie in the path of wet winds blowing in from the Pacific.

We made the trek around noontime, when we had an opportunity to see the most with the sun directly overhead. The wooden boardwalk was a little wobbly and unstable at the point but overall safe.

While living on tropical islands in our immediate future, there will be many more rainforests to explore. As we visited several thus far in Australia and other parts of the world we find each to have its own personality, many with considerable wildlife lurking within the canopy and others, such as here in Australia with less visible wildlife as we walked the trail.

Sun filtering through to standing water in an otherwise dry creek bed.

And we stress, “visible,” when much of the rainforests consist of “small things” not necessarily easy to spot with the naked eye. Lately, we’ve been watching episode after episode of David Attenborough’s amazing stories of life on our planet.

A visitor at a distance which illustrates the narrowness of the boardwalk. At times, we had to use our arms to get through heavy vegetation overtaking the boardwalk.

Watching these fabulous documentaries has aided us in the further realization of how small many creatures are in the rainforests, often difficult to spot as we traverse our way through dense vegetation, the narrow manmade path leading the way.

Tom stopping to admire a huge tree.

For our exploration, we revel in spotting unique vegetation and occasional signs of life, other than the occasional hiker walking by us. Oh, I need to mention a fact about Australia that intrigues us. Australians walk on the same side of a path as cars drive on the road. 

Occasionally, a sign was posted naming a particular tree.

As we encountered others on the narrow path, my inclination had been to move to the right to make room for them to pass when in fact, I’ve needed to move to the left. Tom reminded me to avoid making a fool of myself. Duly noted.

This tree was huge, much wider than it appears in this photo. See the above photo for Tom standing next to it.

The wood boardwalk running through a large portion of the rainforest we toured was too narrow for us to walk side by side. As a result, when exploring rainforests Tom walks in front of me stopping when he spots a point of interest.

Vines accumulating on the ground from the tree above.

His eyes are quicker than mine and we often stop when he sees a photo-worthy opportunity. He rarely disappoints. I’m more inclined to spot a more “romantic” sighting than an object of interest. As a result, we’re a perfect match (in more than one way).

We spotted several trees with vines wrapped around the trunk.

The value of maintaining the integrity of rainforests has definitely become known to most of the world although certain factions prefer to ignore the importance of these magical forests for the future of humanity in many ways.  

We wandered through the Lowland Paperbark Forest.
The destruction of rainforests is both political and money-driven and I prefer not to get into that discussion here. However, any of our long term readers easily surmise our stance on the preservation of our natural resources both in wildlife and vegetation, the most important aspects of our travels, that which brings us the most joy.
It was easy to see why the bark of certain trees is referred to as paperbark.

It’s sad that any of us on a smaller scale can only take a stance and have little impact on that preservation. On a larger scale? It’s another matter. Yes, in our selfish existence, we admire, we enjoy, we take photos and we write. 

Fine, flaky bark on this tree.

Perhaps, somewhere along the way, our constant mumblings may have even a tiny effect in some way if only one person who is involved in the depletion of our natural resources is inspired to consider an alternative.

This tree has an usual base of the trunk.

For the rest of us, we can only consider and implement means of reducing our “ecological footprint” by using methods easily incorporated into our lives

This sign introduced us to the Pandanus Swamp Forest.
Today and over the next few days, we’ll be sharing more of our rainforest photos. It was a warm, sunny day with a slight breeze, keeping the mozzies at bay. Neither of us was bitten once as we made our way through the “triple canopy” which proved to be an interesting and rewarding experience.

                                             Photo from one year ago today, August 12, 2014:

We took this photo from inside Le Louvre from an open window. What a scene! What an experience! For many more Louvre photos, please click here.

Taylor Camp, a lifetime ago, a great Kauai story…Photos…

Today’s black and white photos are all from the book, Taylors Camp by John Wehrheim published in 2009.

Taylor Camp was located on the Napali Coast on the North Shore of Kauai which still has numerous remote beaches.

Recently, when asking locals about interesting facts about Kauai, a few had mentioned Taylor Camp, a property owned by Howard Taylor, the brother of famed actress Elizabeth Taylor. 

In 1969, when Howard became frustrated over his ability to obtain zoning to build a house on his gorgeous strip of oceanfront property at the end of the North Shore, which the county wanted as parkland, he gave up the battle and offered residency on the land to a group of jailed-for-vagrancy-hippies as a camp.

The Napali Coast, the location of Taylor Camp.

Over the next several years the group of hippies that camped on the land grew not only as babies were born but from the addition of other refugees finding their way to what they perceived was an idyllic environment for their simple lifestyle of farming for their own use, smoking marijuana, nudity with a goal for a lack of strife.

Eventually, the county won and in 1977 the land was condemned and the huts, tree houses and tents were burned to the ground while the hippies were driven away, many of whom still live on the island today.

With limited funds, the hippies managed to create a livable environment.

The following quote is from the acclaimed hardcover book by John Wehrheim published in 2009 available at Amazon at this link:                       

Some of the structures built by the hippies living in Taylor Camp were on stilts to protect against high tide and storms.

“In 1969 Howard Taylor, brother of Elizabeth, bailed out a rag-tag band of thirteen young Mainlanders jailed on Kauai for vagrancy and invited them to camp on his oceanfront land. Soon waves of hippies, surfers, and troubled Vietnam vets found their way to Taylor Camp and built a clothing-optional, pot-friendly tree house village at the end of the road on the island’s North Shore.

In 1977, after condemning the village to make way for a ‘State Park’, government officials torched the camp – leaving little but ashes and memories of the ‘best days of our lives’.

Powerfully evocative photographs from the Seventies reveal a community that rejected consumerism for the healing power of Nature, while the story of Taylor Camp’s seven-year existence is documented through interviews made thirty years later with the campers, their neighbors, and the Kauai officials who finally evicted them.”

In 2012, author John Wehrheim also released a stunning movie, available here, a documentary of the complete story of Taylor Camp with testimonies from its former occupants with breathtaking photos and stories.

Many were simple structures such as this.

Here’s a link to an article by the Kauai newspaper, the Garden Island, extolling the virtues of the documentary.

Over a week ago, while out to dinner with new friends Alice and Travis, they loaned us their copy of the above-acclaimed video about the story of Taylor Camp. A few nights ago we watched the interesting documentary in awe of the well-done video and unique story which won multiple awards in the industry.

Clothing was optional in the camp.

Yesterday afternoon, we decided to venture out to the end of the North Shore to see if we could find the remnants of the camp, which apparently has no remaining buildings or distinct evidence of its former existence. 

Having a good idea as to the general idea as to where the camp had been located, upon arrival we realized there was no way to get to it unless we trekked through a dense jungle. Unequipped with proper clothing, insect repellent, or a machete, we took a photo of the general area to share here today. 

Unsanitary conditions were instrumental in the camp’s eventual demise when local residents complained to the county.

A quote from describes the location as follows:

“You have to drive the north coast of Kauai—Hawaii’s Garden Island—past Kilauea Falls, the condominium metropolis of Princeville, and funky old Hanalei to find Taylor Camp. Once you get to Ha’ena State Park, where the Na Pali Cliffs guard the island’s impregnable west coast, park the car and thrash through the jungle to Limahuli Stream, which debouches from the mountains on a gorgeous beach.”The drive to Ha’ena State Park is familiar to us. We’ve made that winding, slow driving trek several times since we arrived in Kauai. It’s at the end of this very road, at Ke’e Beach that Julie and I spotted the Hawaiian Monk Seal lounging in the sand about a month ago.
For those of us of a certain age, we can easily recall this “look” one that even the more traditional types adopted into their lifestyles.
Once again, with no available parking spots, Tom dropped me off at the beach to see if “safari luck” would again prevail and another seal would be basking in the sand. No such luck. However, our thoughts and discussions about Taylor Camp created an entirely new perspective of the popular area, always jammed with tourists.
Saturday was most likely a poor choice for driving to Ha’ena State Park. It appears that the tourist traffic is greater in the Hanalei area and other beach towns on the weekends when more tourists fly to Kauai from the mainland for long weekends. Overall, Kauai has become very busy with tourist traffic compared to my prior visits in the 1980s (before Tom).
With poor sanitation and vast numbers of mosquitoes, living in Taylors Camp wasn’t always carefree and easy.
Luckily, the quiet area of Princeville is less populated, or seemingly so, with less traffic and commotion.  If tourists aren’t actually staying in Princeville, they may only breeze through for a few attractions and hiking trails. 
Tom and I both bypassed participating in “hippie life” to any extent. Tom, five years younger than me was a parent by 1970 and I had my first son in 1967. Instead, the responsibilities of family, work, and home superseded any possible interest we may have acquired had life been different for us. At the time, it was an oddity, a lifestyle we could hardly grasp with our traditional values.
We can only imagine what life was like living in Taylor Camp
Now, as we look back at Taylor Camp, we’re in awe over the passion those groups had over “dropping out” of conventional life and morays to pursue that which appealed to their innate desires and needs. 
Many hippies were nomads and wanderers seeking the next exciting adventure, the next source of healthy food and sustenance, and the next comfortable place to rest.
Beyond  the second row of trees is a. dense forest and steep cliffs we weren’t about to tackle
Hmmm…maybe that sounds like us. Perhaps, now, in our old age, we’re a little like hippies, minus a few pertinent aspects, such as the nudity and the pot.
Today, we’re off to a beach party. More on that with photos tomorrow.
Have a blissful Sunday!
                                              Photo from one year ago today, April 19, 2014:
It was one year ago today that we took this photo of the view from the salon, a narrow living room area, where there was a very uncomfortable sofa where we sat when we weren’t out and about. When it was cold or rainy, we would close these drapes to protect us to some degree from the elements. This center courtyard in the “riad” was open to the sky. For details of that day’s post, please click here.