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March 19, 2015

Hiking Up Koko Head Trail


This year, I promised myself I would try new things and explore new places.  In the past, I have said NO firmly to three things:  hot yoga, hiking, and camping.  I have no plans to have a change of heart on the last one, but for the first two, I relented.  My first time at Bikram yoga was difficult, but nowhere nearly as hard as hiking up Koko Head.

Located in Koko Head Regional Park, the steep trail consists of roughly 1,048 stairs.  The stairs are actually railroad tracks that were originally built to transport military supplies.  Be aware that there is a bridge area where it's possible you could fall through.  To the side of the trail, is a safer route, but be wary of the beehives in that area.

I made the mistake of thinking this would be an easy hike that could just be leisurely walked.  Nope.  You are going to be climbing those steps.  Make it easy on yourself and pack some water and wear a backpack so your hands are free.  Don't forget the sunscreen because the sun will still make an impression at 4 o'clock.  Two of my friends, also new to the trail, feared if they stopped they would lose momentum.  They made it up in about half an hour.  I took another 10 minutes trying to catch my breath every 10-15 steps of the last third of the hike.  I'm not in bad shape, but I didn't have the endurance needed for this hike.  I seriously wanted to give up and wondered if I could be air lifted out of there.  I also ran a cost/benefit analysis in my head deciding if it was worth taking another step as it would just be another step I would have to travel back down. 

Encouraging words from other hikers telling me I was "almost" there did nothing to motivate me.  I would get there, when I got there.  And I finally did.  The view was amazing as expected, but at that moment, it was hardly worth the heart attack that I risked.  But that's just me.  I feel more self-accomplished when I do a handstand or make donuts from scratch.

The way back was soooo much easier for me and I happily chattered all the way down.  Just be aware that it is hard on the knees and it's better to go down sideways.  Before you start to think that I am a wimp, during our hike we witnessed two falls and someone needing the assistance of an ambulance.  But on the flipside, we did see a couple of children (probably on a diet of spinach and Wheaties) climbing like no one's business.  It's been a few days since the hike and while I have no plans on revisiting those steps of doom (ever again), I am glad I got out of my box and tried something new.       


A closer look at the "stairs".



Amazing views.






I made it!


A top view of the way back down.



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