May 1, 2009

Climbing Diamond Head

I mentioned at the beginning of 'Take Me There Thursday' thru Oahu I would share our experience climbing Diamond Head. Enjoy!

Climbing Diamond Head

Just before sunset we loaded into our Hawaiian rental car and set out for Diamond Head – a crater on the east end of Waikiki Beach and one of Hawaii’s most famous landmarks. We parked at the base and ventured forth on the first part of the hike- a 0.8 mile stretch of what is described as “steep and strenuous.” This 0.8 section gains 560 feet as you, “ascend from the crater floor” and reach the main trail head. Excited, we took “pre” photos…

We had admired the beauty of Diamond Head from afar while basking on the beach and were prepared to climb and conquer, and enjoy the breathtaking view from the top.

We were excited.

We were determined.

We were motivated and enthusiastic.

We were naive.

Our initial brisk stride was invigorating – we were moving on up and making good time. We laughed and enjoyed the flora and fauna along the way. The path wound around, dipped, inclined. At one point on the path you enter a lit 225 foot tunnel which leads to a Fire Control Station built on the crater in 1911. I felt a little like Indiana Jones, some great explorer carving my way up a mountain… then I remembered that I was afraid of small spaces. And the dark. And caves.

I discovered something about myself during this experience. Not necessarily that I can push through walls, break my own barriers, overcome my fears …. No. I discovered that in moments of extreme physical exhaustion and panic I laugh hysterically. Rather loudly too.

…eventually I felt like my thighs and buttocks were about to ignite due to the unnatural burning sensation I was encountering due to the now, suddenly, intense straight up incline of stairs and winding pathways. The stairs… {shiver}…went on forever. It was comparable to being trapped in a beautiful Escher painting; up, down, around, upside down…

And I kid you not there were moments I completely lost my vision. And others when I thought I was hallucinating…. During one moment of reflection on my life {see, I just knew the hike was going to kill me; my heart was thumping so loud, my thighs were on fire, I’d lost feeling in all my toes, my lungs were about to explode…} someone passed me on the trial at a brisk walk – a slight jog you could even say. As I stood there gasping for air, mouth gaping open staring at this individual trucking it with no apparent difficulty up the trail, I realized I was just in really bad shape. And would live to see the top. Thank you Lord. {insert hysterical laughter here.}

Eventually we did make it ~ Pulling ourselves up the ladder to the lookout and catching that initial glimpse of the view made everything worthwhile. It was breathtaking. Waikiki Beach. The mountains. And the never ending ocean. It was difficult to leave this beautiful place – to see this little bit of God’s masterpiece was awe-inspiring. My pleas to God for survival a few moments before had ceased and I was in constant thanks and praises.

{Waikiki Beach}

Eventually we pulled ourselves away and began our hike down Diamond Head. I recommend this experience to everyone. And if I return to Oahu, Lord willing I will make that hike again.

Can I just recommend a few things though? Hydration. Load up on carbs the night before, but don’t over eat for breakfast before. And take the hike down the mountain nice and slow… what was a steep incline on the way up, is now a nice little fall, tumble and roll on the way down. :)

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Anonymous said...

How beautiful. I can imagine my thighs burning as well. I must say I had to laugh, because I would totally be the same way.

Vivienne said...

pfft. That view would totally make it worthwhile!