Monday, February 23, 2009

Climb Koko Head Crater - If You Dare!

So, you have climbed Diamond Head and you think, what's next? Well, if you are like me and you think you are 'kinda fit', then this climb is NOT for you! About a 20 minute drive from Waikiki, Koko Crater is located on the southeastern side of Oʻahu. Its hard to miss, as you can see from the photos below. I had done a bit of research about the hike and was looking forward to it as it was something we had not done before. And, I have always loved the leisurely walk to the top of Diamond Head. I was in for a rude shock when I saw the so called walking track - the "stairs" are the railway ties of a long abandoned incline tram formerly used by the military to transport personnel and supplies to a lookout post on the summit.

The thin line running through the center of the crater is the trail to the top of the summit.

I had walked about 200 steps (there was easily over 1,500 steps)....when I decided that I was done. I was hot and sweaty, breathing like I was about to have a heart attack, and the real challenge hadn't even begun. A few people politely jogged by, locals mainly out for their daily exercise - how embarrassing (for me). John was climbing up with ease and I was ready to die. He kept telling me that the view at the top would be worth the climb, so ever so slowly I started walking 10 steps at a time, and then took a break. So needless to say, it took quite some time to get to the top. But, as we got higher and higher, the view was getting better and better. You had the most amazing views of Hawaii Kai, Hanauma Bay, and Diamond Head. So I kept going, through the railroad track with the massive gaps and almost fell through, only to hit an incline of about 45 degrees for the final leg of the journey. Man am I unfit.

View from about halfway up the crater, Hanauma Bay

By the time we reached the summit I seriously thought my heart was going to fall out of my chest. I haven't done a 'walk' like that in a long time, and it made me realize the importance of exercise. The view from the top was unbeatable, and it kicked butt on Diamond Head. There were a bunch of people at the top just sitting around and admiring the view. But I started to realize pretty quickly that what goes up must come down, and the trek to the bottom was not much easier than the one to the top! As you can see from the photo below my face is brighter than a beetroot after making it to the top of the summit!

This activity is a must if you want to witness Oʻahu's true beauty. My recommendations are:

  • Wear very comfortable walking shoes - no sandals or flip flops
  • Put plenty of sunscreen on and go early as it gets HOT
  • Take a hat and plenty of water
  • If you are not fit, take your time but be prepared for the pain the next day - my legs were aching for about 5 days after the walk

After the hike we headed to The Shack in Hawaii Kai. I was so tired I could have fallen asleep in the chair just waiting for my lunch!


Mariella said...

so pretty! you look tired BUT triumphant!! Good for you!

Anonymous said...

I just tried doing this hike today. I only made it a little past the 200 mark before I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest (I then sat on the ground for like 20 minutes before deciding that I'd better go back down). I thought I was kinda fit too. I'm going to try to get in better shape and attempt this hike again in the future. I figure this can be a good gauge of how fit I am. I got to make it to like at least the 400 mark next time. I think I started out going up too fast... next time I'm going to pace myself and try to take it slow.

john m moore said...

We made the hike today - May 13, 2012 - it took us 75 minutes - I am 64 and my wife is 63 - we started out at 6:30 a.m. - and I could not agree more with the writer - it was a tough go - both up and back - and many turned back - but many more made the climb - one young woman ran up in 15 minutes - 45 sec - and said she was slow that day - anyway - very well written and truthful - thanks fr the read - john m moore