(From the notebook of seasonal technician Cody Bear Sutton)
On this last trip into the Alaka’i, we were shown a completely different side of the forest! Instead of the bright and sunny Alaka’i that we saw the first time, we met the more normal rainy forest. The trip was made up of wet boots, drenched bodies, cold nights, and muddy clothes, to which people that frequent the forest are likely accustomed. Our trip was cut short due to massive amounts of rain and gushing streams, and we spent more time trying to dry out our gear and fjord streams than we did finding birds. Maybe this is the forest we should have expected…
Americorps intern Nicki Ozaki adds:
Our last trip to our Wainiha pali site, Mohihi camp, was much different than previous trips. Since I’ve been here a little longer than Cody, I know that rain in the Alaka’i is a regular, maybe even daily, event, so I wasn’t too shocked when we had a couple rain days. The birds were quiet on those days and it was too wet to check on the nestbox sensors. The only work we could have done was vegetation surveys, which, thankfully, we finished a few months ago. Instead, we hung out at camp, which was a bit crowded with seven people, cooked food, and read for two days. And because I had a cold and slight fever, those relaxing days were exactly what I needed.
We ended up hiking out a day early and that hike out was the most interesting hike I have had on Mohihi-Wai’alae trail. Crossing Mohihi stream, which usually is easy rock-hopping, involved wading across a rushing stream where the water was up past my knees. And at Kawaikoi stream, which we can usually drive across, we spent two hours debating how to cross the stream. The stream was running very fast and was up to my stomach! (Granted, I am not too tall). It had tripled in width as well. Eventually, we slung some strands of webbing across the stream, and crossed on foot, leaving our vehicles behind and hitching a ride with other State workers. It was an eventful day, to say the least.