Monday, June 11, 2012

Diamond Head Rim

For last months full moon, three of us decided to head over to the notorious tourist hike that is Diamond Head.  On this night we would park just down the street from Kapiolani Community College and make our way to the parking lot adjascent from the school.  After heading into the parking lot we found a trail heading up the side of the crater rim.  There is more than just one trail up in this vicinity but we just followed the most obvious trail that we saw.  As we were making our way up to the rim, we did see lights in the parking lot that appeared to possibly be guards on segways.  Whether they were looking for us or not, I have no idea.  We wasted little time though and quickly made our way to the crest of the crater rim.  With the full moon shining brightly there was really no need to use our headlamps.  I had a little bit of a tough time seeing but we figured using our headlamps we be kind of silly and draw undue attention to us and the rim.  At the top of the rim we turned right and headed for the summit.

As we began making our way to the Diamond Head summit and viewing area, the rim began to narrow and there were a few tiny rock climbing sections.  I was really awed but how amazing the rim was.  It was by far the best crater rim hike on the island, in my opinion.  I couldn't help but think that one day I might risk hiking it during the day time.  I was a little surprised by how narrow the rim got at points but it was nothing unmanageable.  I think it just caught me off guard more than anything else.  The rock climbing sections were incredibly easy but very enjoyable at the same time and the views of downtown Honolulu were stunning.  I was shocked by how beautiful the city was from this vantage point at night.  Being on Diamond Head during the day doesn't even begin to compare to being there at night.

I found myself way behind the other two people with me.  I was taking it very slow on some of the narrower sections and I was trying to get pictures but unfortunately only a few that I took on the rim section turned out.  Before I knew it though, we had reached the pillbox just in front of the diamond head lookout.  We jumped down and made our way to the actual summit of Diamond Head.  We stayed on top of the lookout for some time, talking and taking pictures and just admiring the sensational night time views of Honolulu.  After quite awhile spent at the summit, we decided to finally get moving.

This is where things took a bit of a weird turn.  I have no problem taking the blame for what happened next.  It was getting cold and starting to rain a little bit and the sky looked as though it might really open up on us.  I suggested that we just go down the regular Diamond Head trail that all the tourists take.  It was almost 1 a.m. or so and I couldn't imagine that anyone would be at the bottom.  Our friend had already told us that the other side of the rim was not nearly as fun and he said he didn't mind going down the state trail.  My wife was the only one who I think was against it, but of course she didn't say that until we got home that night.  The trip down the state trail was quick and fun as we joked and messed around on the way to the bottom.

When we reached the parking lot area, it became incredibly apparent that there were plenty of workers down there.  We attempted to sneak around through the woods but came to a spot where we had no choice but to run through an open field.  We were surely spotted and as we darted back into the woods, we could hear phones and some voices.  As we peaked out we could see someone looking out of the kiosk in our general direction, but we figured that we were pretty well hidden.  We were now just feet from the tunnel entrance to the park and made a decision to make a run for it through the tunnel.  We took off running and as we came to the end of the tunnel we were greeted by a huge gate blocking the tunnel entrance.  We all quickly climbed the tall fence and headed down the road to the entrance of the park.  We ran into two more people and hid in some brush shortly before making our way towards the college.  As we were exiting, we ran into the final heart thumping moment of the night.  A car pulled in and then reversed and began looking for us.  We hid in a little ditch area by the school as the car went by a few times and then we casually and discretely made our way to our car that was parked a few blocks down.

We obviously drew way more attention to ourselves on this night than we needed to or meant to.  All of that craziness over a few young adults just wanting to hike.  I couldn't help but laugh at the situation but I also knew that I was pretty much solely to blame for this episode.  My intention was never to break the law or cause a scene but it just kind of turned out that way for us on this night.  For all of the commotion that took place on this night, this hike was probably my favorite night hike that we've done so far.  As far as the views, it stands alone as far as night hiking on Oahu is concerned.  I learned a huge lesson on this hike and will definetly be more cautious in the future when it comes to not being seen.  As we reached our car that night we all breathed a huge sigh of relief.  The only regret that I have looking back on this hike is that I settled for mcdonalds on the way home instead of stopping and getting my post hike slurpee.  Besides that, the hike was a lot of fun and something that I would definetly consider doing again one day in the future, albeit, distant future.