Climbing Diamond Head

When I started researching things to do in Oahu, climbing Diamond Head seemed to be one of the most obvious. Since I was there for a conference, I figured I would probably be doing most things on my own, and so I did a lot of research beforehand. The main thing I wanted to do in Oahu was hike, as much as possible, but of course hiking alone is usually a very bad idea. Diamond Head, though, sounded so touristy that I didn’t think I would have a problem.

Most guides I read recommended starting the Diamond Head hike early, and I agree. The weather in Hawaii was really nice, but you don’t want to be tromping around in the middle of the day. And besides, if you’re coming from the continental United States, you’ll be jet lagged in just the right way to making waking up at five in the morning completely normal.

I decided to start out as soon as the park opened and planned out my bus trips to get there on time. But, of course, I got off my first bus and was waiting at the crosswalk when the second bus drove by on the opposite side of the street. I ended up walking the rest of the way (with the help of phone a friend) because I actually wasn’t that far away. This did mean I was late arriving, though, so I didn’t make it quite to the top in time for sunrise.

Getting into the park is easy. There are signs on the road and eventually a very obvious tunnel that you have to walk through. After the tunnel, you have to walk to the parking area where you pay for your ticket.

Then the real hike starts. People online recommended bringing a torchlight, so I brought my headlamp, but I certainly didn’t need it. By the time I got there, it was already pre-dawn, so I could see it without a problem, but even if I’d arrived as soon as the park opened, I don’t think visibility would have been a problem, at least not for very long.

A lot of guides rated this hike as being moderately difficult, but I really have to disagree. The whole hike goes along a very clear, well-maintained path, or along flights of stairs. The only difficult part is that it goes uphill, but even then it’s all switchbacks, making it rather easy.

The other potentially difficult part is a long set of stairs right near the top. I managed to skip the stairs completely, though, by taking the lefthand branch on the path instead of the righthand branch. I made this decision based on a very happy, energetic man who was hiking right in front of me. He seemed to know what he was doing, so I just followed him.

On this last bit of the climb, I stopped to watch the sun rise. I was sort of forced to stop because I didn’t want to crowd in with all the people right at the top who were also waiting for the sun to rise.

Once the sun rose, I did climb all the way to the top, where I still had to crowd with people. This severely cramped my selfie style.

I then began my slow descent—slow because I was surprised at how quickly I made it to the top and wanted to get my dollar’s worth on the way down.

First I went through what the internet leads me to believe are old military constructions. Then it was down the long flight of stairs, where I passed two girls who were very unhappy that they were going up instead of down.

All-in-all, Diamond Head was definitely worth it because I got out and moving without having to worry about living dangerously (more on that in a later post). There were also really nice views along the way and at the top, as well as a nice breeze. Plus, now I have another volcano under my belt.

Tune in next time to hear about my post-Diamond Head meal, a post worthy of Cookery Pokery.


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