Hula Babe’s and Beach Boy’s Hawaiian adventures began by climbing Diamond Head. As we gazed out over the Pacific Ocean, the only thing we asked ourselves is, “Why did we wait so many years and visits to Hawaii to enjoy this trek?”
Thanks to Kim and Sue, who after reading last week’s post in which I pondered the possibility, encouraged us to ‘just do it!'Their encouragement moved it to the top of my Hawaiian ‘to do’ list.
And then there was our hotel...
Our first four days were spent in Diamond Head’s shadow, at the The Lotus at Diamond Head in a room that provided a postcard view of this decades-old symbol of Waikiki. It felt as if we could reach across Kapi’olani Park and caress its rough hewn sides. We used binoculars to see the people way up at the very tiptop viewpoint (the point on the right in this photo).
So Friday the 13th we tackled Le-ahi, the other name for Diamond Head; a name given by the goddess Hi’aka because the summit resembles the lae (forehead) of the ahi fish. . .or at least that is one of the stories told of its name. Another is that it stands for the wreaths of fire lighted atop it to guide canoes to shore.
We walked from our hotel to the trail head in the midst of the crater of this 300,000 year-old volcano. Entry fees were a very reasonable $1 per person walk in. Parking fees for those who chose to drive were also minimal.
The trail itself is less than a mile (1.3km) one way and the climb is 560feet (171m) from the crater floor. The trail, built in 1908 as part of the U.S. Army’s Coastal Defense System, was originally used by those on foot and mules that hauled construction equipment up it. The surface was uneven in many places but secure handrails made it feel safe. There were steep stairways and dark narrow tunnels – it might not be for everyone.
I admit there were a couple of times as I paused to drink water and suck air on the way up that I did wonder why I had been so hell bent on doing it. However we were joined by young and old; fit and fat - a testimony to its popularity. More than a million visit Diamond Head each year.
And then. . .the final flight of stairs and we were at the top. . .paradise literally surrounded us every direction we turned. The views were stunning.
I can hardly wait until next year! It might just have moved even higher on my “must not miss” list.