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Drippings From My Journal, No. 8
Addressed by Peter Goabout to his Cousin Job Stayathome
The Polynesian. Saturday, August 23, 1841

From Honolulu

A few miles to the west of Koloa is a mountain, called by the natives Kahili, or "fly-brush"; why this name I know not, as the most imaginative fancy could not detect a resemblance in any particular between the two. In fact, it differs so little from its neighbors, that it would attract but a partial glance, or be noted only as an interesting feature in the general landscape. Then why all these words about it, you will be inclined to ask. I will tell you. Simply because it was my fortune one day to ascend it, in company of some friends, and being much gratified with the excursion, I wish to take you up with me, or as high, at least, as pen and ink will allow you.

There are others not far distant, that are higher, and even more picturesque; many more grand in their outline; . . . But the horses are now saddled; mount and follow.
The morning was fine, our steeds galloped well; the plain was rich with verdure, and after a few gulches are passed, we shall be there. These gulches are an abomination to man and beast; their beds are very apt to be laid in a soft, adhesive mud, overgrown with a treacherous carpet of heavy grass, into which the inexperienced traveler plunges, and is somewhat surprised to find his horse disappearing rapidly from under him, flouncing and thrashing like a stuck whale, and covering both with a coating of greasy earth, which if they were destined to become kalo patches, would be well enough . . . Frequently it is no small labor to extricate the horse from these quagmires, but after a few experiences of this nature it is quite as difficult to get the wary animal into one . . . .

Mauna Kahili which we shortly reached, was ascended on foot, following up the back-bone of the spur which leads to the very summit. As it was steep and slippery, owing to the smooth grass, our progress at first was slow, and our knees soon began to tremble, and no doubt as far as they are concerned, wished they had not come. Ascending higher, the mountain becomes gradually more densely wooded, and the spur narrower, until its breadth is scarce two feet, presenting a sharp ridge, bordered on either side by a precipice of several hundred to one thousand feet in height. These precipices are overgrown with vegetation . . . After groping our way in this fashion for an hour or more, we reached the summit. It consisted of a small plot of earth about a rod square, bare in the center, but overgrown with stout trees upon its sides. Upon it were several large timbers, of a foot in diameter, standing perpendicular, and about twelve high, with notches for foot hold cut in them. These, as runs the legend, have stood from time immemorial, that is to say, some half century or more, and are the remains of a fortification which a chief erected, who lived on bad terms with his less elevated neighbors. As the approaches to the site are a succession of narrow ridges, a few warriors were able to set a host of enemies at defiance, and make the place impregnable. During the night his followers would sally down and levy black mail, in the shape of pigs, fowls, kalo, and potatoes, for their lord's table. What was his end, the legend says not; but if his enemies did not eventually take him off, an influenza must, for no mortal could have lived there long . . . .