Conquering Koko Head Crater

14 04 2010

This past Sunday (the last day of my birthday week), I attempted to conquer the infamous Koko Head Crater.  This would be my second attempt, as the first one came the year before — unfinished.  I couldn’t cross the bridge.  I was determined to get to the top… even if it took me an hour to get there.

You have to admit, it’s kind of intimidating.

The hike itself is 1,048+ stairs with an elevation gain of 1,200 ft.  It’s 2 miles round trip, but the incline is scary enough to make someone’s legs feel like jello on the way down.

Most “fit” people can hit the top in 22 minutes.  My teammates who frequent this beast are trying to finish it in under 18 minutes.  I didn’t care.  I just wanted to finish.

We started the climb at around 1 p.m. (we were supposed to start at noon)

The boys couldn’t help but leave me in the dust.  On the way up, I passed a lot of people who probably looked just as hash as me.  One girl even stopped on the side to throw up… and we weren’t even at the bridge (the half way point).  I also passed a lot of older people, children, and small animals.  I figured that if they could make it to the top, so could I.

I made it half way walking, looked down, and then got on my hands and crawled.

At the half way point, I freaked out.  The tracks seemed to be even more spaced apart, with a 10 foot drop accompanying it.  I started out walking, reciting Phil 4:13 (I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me), then dropped down low after I hit the half way point.  My legs got weak and even with the sight of my teammates at the end of the bridge, I figured that I better be safe than sorry.

The boys ditched me shortly thereafter.  The second half of the climb seemed to take forever.  I passed the girl who threw up and another girl who done it before.  As I neared the top, I saw a bunch of guys sitting at the top just watching me struggle to climb the last 25+ stairs.  Obviously, I don’t think they were watching ME, per se, but being the competitor that I am, I pushed through the last (and hardest) incline.

The view from the top.

There is another lookout spot around the corner, which takes a little more climbing to get to… but the view (and the breeze) was amazing.

We conquered the beast!

A view of Hawaii Kai and Waikiki in the distance.

The gun range and Hanauma Bay

Makapu’u side

After a few more minutes of goofing around and posing, we embarked on the much shorter journey back down.  Getting down was a little tricky, as it was a little slippery and the incline made it much harder on your shins.

We ran into Masa on the way down.

For some reason, what took me 30 minutes to climb up, it took twice as short to get down.

The bridge was equally, if not scarier, coming back down. Jello-y legs = FAIL.

But we made it! (And technically, I beat them coming back down…)

And our reward after — acai bowls from Kokonuts at Koko Marina Shopping Center

We thought that we would be in utter pain the next day.  Luckily, my quads only suffered minimal damage.  I managed to go to wrestling class the next day, too (3/4 of us made it to that class).  The most pain incurred were in my feet, probably due to the trek down.

Although I said that I wouldn’t need to do it again, we are all determined to get faster times.  Lucky I live Hawaii… for now.




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