The Hike Up Diamond Head Crater – OAHU, HI (Photo Heavy)
by Dori Nicole
Oahu, HI Jan. 21. 2016 – Diamond Head Crater
My last day in Oahu proved to be rocky in every way, starting off with a swim before sunrise at Fort de Russey beach at 6am until 8 where either a dolphin or small shark out for breakfast swam directly by my feet, completely unbothered by my presence.
The ocean was warmer than the land around this time so I stripped to my bathing suit and floated and swam until the sun came up and newly arrived tourists came out of hiding.
Then comes a call from a lawyer bearing bad news on my walk back to my room to shower. The call that ended up in me crying and panicking and refusing to leave my room for my final day. After some encouraging words from a call back home, I showered, got my shit together and went out for the MOST AMAZING CELEBRATORY BREAKFAST EVER at Tilia Exquisite Aloha and proceeded from there to the bus stop to find my way to Diamond Head State Monument for a solo hike to the very top to test my strength, my body, and how far I’ve come from not being able to walk or bathe myself 3 months prior to this day, and exactly 6 months post car accident.
The entrance was through a tunnel directly through the mountain and as a pedestrian I paid a grand total of $1.00 to hike Diamond Head for the day. The day was hot, although, early and the views were breathtaking to say the least.
We climbed up rock, endless flights of stairs, through darkened tunnels and in between narrow spaces all the way to the top. Kids, old people, fat people and skinny. People from all over the world and from right at home on the island.
Many languages filled my ears and I found myself encouraging those who were having a hard time, reminding them they could do it and listening to all the parents show their kids how far they came on this journey and teaching them they could do anything they wanted.
Anything they wanted for themselves, they could have.
Making it to the top was physically demanding but didn’t take long at all. I smelled of ass and grilled onions by the end, and although I didn’t want to be embarrassed by my stench, I sucked it up and approached the guy at the top of the summit who was handing out free finishing stamps to the hikers.
Although my ticket may likely be something I’ll lose before I know it, getting that stamp in the moment meant too much for me to pass up. I ended up choking back tears in a whirlwind of emotions on the descent back down the mountain.
I like to say that the bus system on Oahu is awesome because for $2.50 you can ride two buses to get to absolutely anywhere on the island. But this day was an exception.
I hiked down the mountain to catch the same bus I took to get there but, of course, going in the opposite direction.
After 45 minutes, it never came.
I walked down to the next bus stop, extremely hot and out of water and looked up the bus schedule to see what I had to do to get back to my area for a shower. I ended up boarding the first bus in sight already aware that it was the wrong one and got “lost”. I rode around the island unafraid that I no longer recognized my surroundings and just kicked back in the air conditioning trusting that it would all work out eventually.
As we approached Ala Moana Center, a giant mall in Honolulu, I hopped out and onto a different bus that had me back in my town in under 5 minutes.
Instead of showering, I became that dirty girl that walked straight from the bus to the beach to swim yet again for two hours. Then from there to my usual Vietnamese restaurant, Pho Minh Tu, for another pho’kinh bowl of soup!
Nearly sopping wet and shedding sand.
I may have done a small amount of keychain shopping before finally heading back to my apartment to wash my ass, but just know that I eventually did shower.
This was the most perfect day.