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Hawaii Part 2: Diamond Head Trail

03 October 2022

 

Staircase to Heaven.

 

(Pssst… Did you miss Part 1?)

 

Rising early the next day, we navigated our way around the hotel’s buffet breakfast (an essential detour on any holiday, let’s be honest) before meandering past the pool (where a lone duck was enjoying a quiet swim). Then it was time to tick another item off our sightseeing list – Diamond Head Trail.

 

The plucky young concierge at our hotel suggested we catch the bus. Walking to Diamond Head, he explained, would take at least half an hour.

 

Ha! we laughed. We’re more than capable of walking for half an hour!

 

(Plus, my slip-ons were still new-ish, and I was keen to take them on another test-run.)

 

So off we set, striding through the town towards the towering shadow of Diamond Head.

 

Two hours later, after several (accidental) detours and many map consultations, we arrived. After resting for ten minutes and wiping our shiny faces (and quietly cursing the concierge), we set off up the path towards the crater, a few paces behind a flock of eager camera-toting tourists.

 

The incline was steep. And I mean steep. The path wound back and forth along the edge of the crater, rising steadily up the side and overlooking the city below.

 

And then came the stairs.

 

The many, many, many stairs.

 

With legs shaking and heart pounding, I climbed the final step and stopped at the top of the mountainside, clutching the handrail. Behind me, Honolulu looked magnificent – nothing but ocean and mountains as far as the eye could see. The stairs I’d just conquered looked tiny from my now-victorious vantage point. Feeling re-energised, I made my way around the corner to continue admiring the view – and was instead met with another flight of stairs, this one even taller and nastier than the last.

 

I followed the straggle of tourists up the stairs who’d all stopped waving their cameras around now.

 

When we’d finally reached the top, we tottered through a low tunnel, enjoying the coolness of the shadows, before turning and finding another staircase. This one was a metal spiral of doom, disappearing up, up, up inside an old observation platform.

 

Lifting one foot in front of the other, we slowly made our way to the top of the spiral and stepped outside into the blinding sunlight – and the view was absolutely, completely breathtaking.

 

The cool wind whipped across our faces. Standing at the edge of the viewing platform, we gazed out across the ocean and – after several moments – saw some puffs of water in the distance: a pod of whales was breaching the surface of the ocean.

 

An incredible reward for our efforts!

 

Coming back down the hill, our legs felt lighter than ever, and we practically skipped all the way down.

 

As I soared past the next wave of bedraggled tourists who were making their way up, I felt rather triumphant.

 

We hailed the nearest taxi and headed back to town.

 

By Hannah Begg
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