Living in Hawaii has made me lazy. I hadn't written a post since February 1st. That's like two months! But the beach life is so totally awesome, dude. Like totally rad, brah.
One of the things I love to do is wander around O'ahu. Other than Waikiki, there are little areas that boast good food, cheaper since Waikiki is a tourist trap, cool locals, and neat indie stores. Not many locals live in Waikiki, so going on a walkabout around Honolulu is pretty cool.
I had gone on a hike with some of the locals, and they suggested I check out Koko Head Crater. I didn't know much about it, except that it was a crater. Yes, my Sherlock like deduction was workin' overtime. Reading reviews and articles about Koko Head Trail, I had found out that it was like a really intense StairMaster workout with a mere 1048 steps.
Hell...I've hike up and back to Half Dome in flip flops, which was a huge mistake. Don't do that unless you like large bubbly blisters under your feet and in between your toes. And since I didn't ship my car to Hawaii, I've been walking an average of five miles a day. So what's a little StairMaster workout?
Let's start with the steps.
You don't have to be intelligent to see that these ain't steps. Koko Head used to be a military lookout, and to send supplies to those stationed there, they used a railcar system. So the steps were actual railroad ties. Instead of a normal step think skipping every other step. That's what it was like within the first two thirds of this ridiculously easy climb (sarcasm).
Now, if you look at the above picture again, do you see where the trail/railroad ties narrow to what looks like a hyperdermic needle? The incline at that point increases to 45 degrees. In other words, if a person tripped and fell down those steps...well...good luck pal. He ain't stoppin' till he reaches the bottom of that needle portion of the trail. It's at this point where my legs started to burn as if someone had doused gasoline on my legs and torched them with a...uh...torch. With the increase in incline, the ties also became more difficult. Instead of taking every other step, it was more like taking three steps up at a time. The incline had also raised each tie, making each step taller. I be short. That's ghetto for I gots me some short ass legs. I had to take like five or six maybe seven breaks. And by the time I got to the top, my tank top was drenched in sweat. And remember. This is da H.I. (The Hawaiian Islands). There were very attractive women already at the top, and here I came breathin' like I'm about to give birth, drippin' in sweat like I just got outta the ocean, and too tired to puff up my broad chest. OK. It's not that broad.
From the panoramic picture above, it looks pretty high. That's because it's pretty freakin' high. Damn high. Like Gawd was right there high. This normally wouldn't be a problem, except I'm deathly afraid of heights. I get scared just lookin' out the window of a tall building. And don't get me started with those Apple store stairs that you can see through. Yeesh!
But I knew I wanted to climb Koko Head. I knew that the fear of heights was just in my head. So I went and did it. I took the above panoramic and proclaimed my manliness. Then I realized that to get back down to the foothill, I had to go down those railroad ties.
None of the reviews said anything about that!
Slowly, I took each of those 1000 plus steps down. My legs were already shaky from the climb up. But I was doing it! Again, I proclaimed my manliness, as I negotiated each step like a child learning how to walk.
Then I heard something odd.
Two local girls giggled as they 'skipped to the lou' down the ties like they were playing hopscotch. They made it down the crater before I was even half way. Needless to say, my manliness deflated. Then why did I say it?
Only thing we have to fear is fear itself -Franklin D. Roosevelt
So what did I do to overcome my fear of heights? Nuthin'. Throughout my climb and descent of the stairs, my fear of heights was alive. And like the white noise of a cafe when I'm writing, I paid little attention to it. There were moments where I panicked at how steep the mountainside was increasing, but I did my best to let that moment pass.
Will I ever go up Koko Head Crater? Hell no. Well...maybe no. Though, I have to say that I felt a sense of accomplishment as I knead my crippled thighs unable to run away from a tiny spider.
Check out this sunset: