Friday, March 20, 2015

Hawaii Trip Report Part 2: Hiking Diamond Head Crater

Trip Report so far:

Vacation Video
Part 1: Getting There
Part 2: Hiking Diamond Head Crater

Monday, March 9, 2015:

We had spent the night in 2 connecting rooms at the Waikiki Resort Hotel. I was sharing a bed with my 4-year-old daughter, and she woke up for good at 2:00 a.m. local time (7:00 a.m. Texas time, which is typical). Unfortunately, she did not go back to sleep, so neither did I. Joshua woke up around 4:00 a.m., as did Brian and Nathan. We showered and ate breakfast in our room (that I had bought the night before from the store). We were ready for the day's adventure, but we needed to wait for some sunlight before we started.

Today was the day we would hike up the Diamond Head volcanic crater. When I booked this trip a year ago, I immediately set a goal for my whole family to hike this trail. I love hikes with a view! My family had trained for this hike by hiking around North Dallas and by doing stair climbing drills (we would have to climb 227 stairs).

This is Diamond Head, which sits at the end of Waikiki beach.

And here is an aerial view:
By 6:30 a.m., it appeared light enough outside to start the hike. So we made the short drive to Diamond Head from our hotel (about 10 minutes). To get to the parking lot, we drove through this tunnel and parked inside the crater. Parking is $5 per car.

There was a food truck parked there with shaved ice and bottled water.

And a bathroom, in case you need one before or after the hike:

Photo at the Diamond Head sign:

And we asked a stranger to take a photo with me in it:

At the beginning of the trail is a brief history of the crater: (more history here)

The trail starts out like a normal paved trail:

But soon it gets steeper with switchbacks:
I was glad there was a railing on the outside!
After a while, we could see the hikers near the top:

The first set of stairs has 74 steps:
And then we entered the tunnel:
Then there were more outside trails leading to the main staircase of 99 steps:
Then a 54-step spiral staircase. Almost there!

We had to crawl through this opening to get to the top (old military bunker):

And then we were at the top! We had a beautiful view of Honolulu:

And to the west:

And we saw the lighthouse below:
We had a few small raindrops at the top. And I'm not sure if you can tell from this picture, but we also saw a rainbow at the top!
On our hike down, we could also see inside the crater where we parked:
There is an alternative path back down that avoids the spiral staircase, but then it merges with the main path:
The trail is just 1.5 miles round-trip, but it is steep. The kids did great, though! Joshua was happy to be almost done with the hike. He said he loved the view, but not the exercise part.
I didn't time our hike, and we spent quite a bit of time at the top admiring the view, but I think start to finish it took us about 2 hours total.

We skipped the shaved ice back in the parking lot due to a long line and instead drove back to our hotel in Waikiki to hit up McDonalds for a second breakfast. It had been about 4 hours since our first breakfast back in our hotel room. The McDonalds had outside seating near the beach.
After our 2nd breakfast, we walked around Waikiki beach for a few minutes. We wouldn't be returning there until Saturday.

By 10:00, we were checked out of our hotel and on the road to the west side of the island, where we would stay for the next 5 nights.

Edited to add: We witnessed a marriage proposal at the top!

Up next: Our first day at Aulani.

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