Iao Valley Described by Mark Twain

Iao Valley was described by Mark Twain in his book Roughing It [1872]:

We returned to Honolulu, and from thence sailed to the island of Maui, and spent several weeks there very pleasantly.

I still remember, with a sense of indolent luxury, a picnicing excursion up a romantic gorge there, called the Iao Valley.

The trail lay along the edge of a brawling stream in the bottom of the gorge--a shady route, for it was well roofed with the verdant domes of forest trees. Through openings in the foliage we glimpsed picturesque scenery that revealed ceaseless changes and new charms with every step of our progress.

Perpendicular walls from one to three thousand feet high guarded the way, and were sumptuously plumed with varied foliage, in places, and in places swathed in waving ferns.

Passing shreds of cloud trailed their shadows across these shining fronts, mottling them with blots; billowy masses of white vapor hid the turreted summits, and far above the vapor swelled a background of gleaming green crags and cones that came and went, through the veiling mists, like islands drifting in a fog; sometimes the cloudy curtain descended till half the canon wall was hidden, then shredded gradually away till only airy glimpses of the ferny front appeared through it--then swept aloft and left it glorified in the sun again.

Now and then, as our position changed, rocky bastions swung out from the wall, a mimic ruin of castellated ramparts and crumbling towers clothed with mosses and hung with garlands of swaying vines, and as we moved on they swung back again and hid themselves once more in the foliage.

Presently a verdure-clad needle of stone, a thousand feet high, stepped out from behind a corner, and mounted guard over the mysteries of the valley.

It seemed to me that if Captain Cook needed a monument, here was one ready made--therefore, why not put up his sign here?

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