Monday, October 4, 2010

NBWM4 - Diamondhead Hike

Diamondhead Hike

We hiked from the bottom of the crater to the top right highest point.

The next morning, everyone got up at 4am, compliments of me. Honestly, though? I didn't think EVERYONE would get up that early! I figured it would be just Greg and me doing the hike, but what troopers we all were and I'm glad to have inspired them. Greg asked, "Are you sure you want to do this hike?" He said he would if I really wanted to and yes, I did. I wanted to be able to say that I walked to the top of Diamondhead.

Everything I read in my research said to get there early (hence the 4am) in order for the hike to not be overly crowded and to beat the heat (there's no shade along the trail).

We had to drive through Waikiki to get to Diamondhead. Mom said, "Anyone who stays in Waikiki doesn't get the real feel of Hawaii." Too many buildings and too commercialized. Dad did a fantastic job in finding our beach house in a more remote place on Oahu. Some people might get bored with the nature and isolated area, but me? I loved it!

Ok, Diamondhead.. OMG, when I say it was difficult, it WAS! It starts off nicely enough with a short paved switchback section, then, no more pavement and a heck of a lot of rocks. Greg said he was impressed with my sure footedness, calling me a natural billy-goat along the path.

Then... it started to rain! I didn't fall, even with the slick rocks, but we did have to stop for a break. The path turned into steps, Ok, I could handle that, then into a dark tunnel, which wasn't so bad, because the gust of wind felt good. However, the next set of stairs, I didn't know if I could make it - 99 steep steps, but wait --- there's more! Another switchback to walk up, a SPIRAL staircase - that brings you to the World War II bunker.

Did I mention to get out of the bunker and go to *gulp* another set of stairs - you have to step up the side of the bunker and DUCK at the same time. I wonder how really tall people managed the step up and duck aspect. After the final set of stairs, wow - what a view!

There's just something empowering about walking up the side of an extinct volcano. It felt so good that we did it - yes!

Ok, some info about the place ~ More than 3,500 feet in diameter with a 750-foot summit, Diamond Head is a lasting remnant of a volcanic explosion that occurred about 500,000 years ago. Hawaiians called it Laeahi, which means "brow of the tuna." It was named Diamond Head by British sailors who thought there were diamonds lodged in the crater's soil (the diamonds turned out to be calcite crystals in the lava rock).

After taking a bunch of pictures (and catching our breath), R&R arrived. Roda said, "When Rob didn't want to go any further, I pointed and said, "Aleta and Greg are there" and it kept Rob going." Hehe. We were their inspiration! But poor Rob, he cut his finger on a rail and he looked miserable. BUT.. he can say that he did the hike too. Hopefully they thought it was worth the effort. I kept myself motivated by thinking, "It's a combination of treadmill and elliptical." That motivation worked well until I saw the 99 steps, I thought, "Elliptical my ass!" Lol.

Going back down was not as easy as one would think. I was getting Vertigo on the stairs. And going back down the steep switchbacks, you use a different set of muscles in the legs; mine felt like they were jelly!

Once we arrived at the parking lot, we regrouped with my parents. I saw a van that had refreshments and "Shaved Ice." I wanted to try it, because it's just one of those things that you have to try in Hawaii. It's like our snowballs, but in a large container and you get two different flavors. I loved the pineapple and strawberry. Mom and Dad liked the pineapple and coconut.

Our day of walking wasn't over. We went to the Swap Meet, which is held outside of the Aloha Stadium. Greg found a cool puzzle box in the shape of a pineapple. The entire booth was handmade wood pieces and we bought a couple of things there (frame, magnet, ornament). The Swap Meet was fun and you could haggle with the prices.

I walked into one booth and saw a lot of seashells. I asked the guy, "Do you have any sunrise seashells?" He had one that was already on a hemp necklace and another one that wasn't on a necklace. I loved the one on the hemp, but told him, "I only want the sunrise seashell, not the necklace." He came down on the price - 40.00. The man said, "It's a good price." I knew it was a good bargain!

I read up on the sunrise seashells prior to the trip (was looking for something natural to remember the trip and came across sunrise seashells)- they are considered "money" in Hawaii. There are two reasons for the name of the seashell - first, because of it's lovely colors and secondly.... because you have to get up before sunrise and find the shells otherwise someone else has found them! Those who find the shells bring them to jewelry stores and sell them, sometimes getting 50 per shell.

I saw two of the shells in one store while on our trip. One sunrise seashell went for 2500 (it was red and yellow) and the other (mostly light yellow) sold for 570. My eyebrows raised at the price and the store owner said, "They are rare shells." I was tickled at the price that I bought mine and can't wait to create a beaded necklace for it.

On the way home, we took pictures of Chinaman's Hats and curved palm trees (will post those pictures tomorrow). When we got back to the beach house, Greg and I got into the outside Jacuzzi and gave each other foot massages in the water - Heaven!


Not Hannah said...

Oooh, I'd love to see your shell. I've never heard of those and they sound lovely!

RGB said...

Wow...sounds like some trek, up diamond head! Thanks for the info and for sharing your experience & pics with us. And I'm panting just reading about the trek, you've done yourself proud girl:)

Carolyn Abiad said...

Nice reward at the top of that mountain. Thanks for sharing the view!

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, that hike looks AMAZING! And it doesn't surprise me down is harder because you already have the tired legs thing going--no surprise at all.

Looks really fabulous! And as my silly correction (because my college dorm had 4 Hawaiians in it) Shave Ice. No D. I don't KNOW why, except I think the Hawaiian alphabet has no D, though I don't think it has an S, a V or a C either *shifty*

brenkachicka said...

Goodness! I am homesick now! I lived in Hawaii most of my adult life. I miss it so much!

The Buddhistmama said...

Beautiful! We are just starting to hike with our kids. Our biggest one so far has been just under 5 miles. But we will get there some day! Rock on!!

Gail said...

I have never been there. Enjoyed the tour, beautiful pictures.

Cherie said...

Good for you! I think we would get along great! I love to go go go and do do do and my husband and I did this hike when we were in Hawaii a few years ago. There were definately ALOT of steps - HOLY MOLY!! But the view is SO worth it. Really a cool thing to do.
I love that you got everyone up at 4:00 A.M. - You go girl!!
Your pictures are so colorful and beautiful!

Danette said...

Wow great pics and good for you making that hike!