Saturday, August 20, 2011

We Climbed Diamondhead

Diamondhead, the iconic image, visible from all of Waikiki, rises straight up from the Pacific Ocean and provides a backdrop to swimming, surfing, and canoeing. Diamondhead presents a modest challenge to the couch potato tourist.

Oahu Nature Tours picked all 7 of us up and drove to the Diamondhead crater to start our trek. Claire passed out water bottles (2 to each of us), walking sticks to those who needed them. (I had my own cane, Edgar announced that he does not have any mountain goat gene and sat at the beginning of the trail and talked to everyone who sat down next to him until we returned), and a back pack if needed.

The day dawned warm and glorious but the 10 to 20 mile cooling trade winds kept both the temperature and humidity down. By the time we finished the climb, almost everyone had consumed both bottles of water.

The trail zig-zagged up the mountain with a hand rail always present on one side or the other. Between my cane and my wrist brace, I made the climb both up and down. I hope I served as an inspiration to the younger climbers. That would be everybody else. And various people stopped me to complain about their own troubles. A man has been doctoring for MS for 26 years and swears by his multi-vitamins. A woman with an inflamed rotator cuff couldn't lift her arm and asked me how she could prevent a frozen shoulder. I guess my silver hair led them to believe that I was knowledgeable in medical problems.

Parents with young children in their arms, ran up and down the trail. That seems like unnecessary bravado to me.

The climb through the lighted tunnel was the easy part of the hike, followed by the hard part of more than a hundred steps going straight up, a circular staircase, and the decapitation stone that required a knees first position on the way up ("watch your head" warning seemed unnecessary but present) and a sit on your rear for the way down.

The descent provided problems for me and I picked my way slowly and carefully -I inadvertently held up the parade of climbers who were in a hurry. A tall, strong looking man, took over and told me that he was walking in front and he would catch me if I slipped. He placed his foot at an angle and encouraged me to use his shoe as a safety block. I did and thanked the airline pilot from Delta for his help.

All of this writing about the hike doesn't come close to describing the spectacular views from the top. Practically the entire island of Oahu was visible - downtown Honolulu, built up Waikiki, and the multi-colored blue Pacific Ocean.

What a day!!!

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