Saturday, July 2, 2011
I’m a big fan of tree tunnels. There’s a really good one coming down from Mount Hood into Rhododendron, Oregon. It is how I always imagined Bavaria’s Black Forest, the setting for several of the German fairy tales I remember from my youth. Kauai has one too, along Maluhia Road just before it intersects Route 50. If the tree tunnel outside Rhododendren is intimate, dark, and even a little foreboding, the one on Kauai is just the opposite. It is lush and expansive, with a glowing canopy over 100 feet above the ground.
As is often the case with Hawaiian lore, there are conflicting stories about how this mile long corridor of Eucalyptus trees came to be. The most prevalent story credits sugar, pineapple, and cattle magnate Walter McBryde with donating these trees after they were left over from landscaping his estate more than a century ago.
Regardless of it’s origin, no one disputes that two hurricanes, one in 1982 and another in 1993, nearly destroyed the tree tunnel. Eighteen years later the canopy has once again grown together, however locals will tell you that it is still not as filled out and dense as it was prior to the two hurricanes.
Our fond memories of the tree tunnel are not just a result of its beauty but also because it leads through some beautiful countryside to Koloa Town, the quaint little community where we enjoyed delicious haupia ice cream (made from coconut milk in lieu of regular milk) and some outstanding pizza—in that order.
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©2011 Timothy Linn. All Rights Reserved.