Sunset Hikes…

9 Feb

…are the BEST!  Especially when they’re on an island known around the world for it’s breathtaking sunsets!  That being said, I won’t sugar coat it…this hike definitely wasn’t all warm and fuzzy- it was downright treacherous all the way to the top!

Koko Crater is a cinder cone remaining from the last active volcano that occurred on Oahu approximately 10,000 years ago. This crater is the tallest tuff ring in Hawaii, measuring 1,207 feet high. The slopes of the crater drop steeply into the Molokai Channel, an area lacking protection from any offshore reefs, causing very turbulent seas.

Driving to the base of Koko...You can see the hiking 'trail' (ie. old railway) heading straight up the middle 🙂

The Koko Crater hike is actually the remnants of a military railway tram track that was used to haul supplies to the military bunkers on top of the crater during WW2.

Standing on the bottom 'step...' Just over 1000 more to the top 🙂

The bottom half is a steady, fairly gradual climb- about a 35 degree slope.  Part of the challenge, at least for my short legs!, was the distance between many of the railroad ties- too far for one step, so it was alot of ‘double timing’ on the first half of the trek…

Not even 1/3 of the way up and the view behind/below us is already awesome...And our legs are already on fire!

Marking the halfway point is the infamous ‘bridge,’ a 50-tie span of the climb over a valley.  That’s right, NOTHING below you, which means that you can really psyche yourself out if you think about it too much!  It’s definitely not for those afraid of heights, especially since several of the ties are loose and weathered and because you’re sharing the bridge with all the other hikers!

We learned after the fact that there is, in fact, an alternate dirt path off to the right that goes down through the valley before reconnecting with the railway on the other side, but that it's infiltrated with bee hives and really not worth the risk. Glad we just sucked it up and crossed the bridge! Rite of passage! Ha!

Top railway tie...We made it 🙂

After taking a few moments to catch our breaths- and to get our footing since we couldn’t feel our legs by the time we got to the top!- we finally turned around to take in the inspiration for the hike in the first place…

The view from the top of Koko Crater...Sunset over Oahu...Wow.

Accomplishment 🙂

One of the great things about the top of the Crater is that you can also see the far side of the island.  That’s right, you have 360 degree views of Oahu, including the Botanical Gardens, Hanauma Bay (one of our favorite spots in all of Hawaii), Diamond Head and the North Shore.

Hanauma Bay

Over the Botanical Gardens...And we caught a glimpse of a whale 🙂

Next, the challenge was getting back DOWN the mountain.  Two challenges?  Quickly fading sunlight and shaky Jello legs!

Night falling in Oahu as we start our way down...You can see Diamond Head and Waikiki in the distance...

So, how do you celebrate such a feat?  Well, in our neck of the woods, local brew and malasadas do the trick!

One of John's favorite spots, Kona Brewing Company...

A Malasada, known as one of the most popular Hawaiian desserts, is a hole-less doughnut of Portuguese origin. You can think of it as a very rich doughnut with more egg and butter flavors. Furthermore, Malasadas are usually rolled in sugar and best if eaten hot fresh out of the fryer. The result is a hole-less dougnut with a crunchy outside and a light and fluffy inside with a hint of chewiness. We got some 'plains' (John's fav), some 'cinnamon' (tastes similar to an elephant ear) and some 'custard filled' (my fav). 🙂

And with that, I’ll leave you with one more bit of great news- we both slept until 7a this morning!!  WOOHOO!  No telling what today will bring, but here’s hoping it’s more of the same!  Happy Hump Day!

2 Responses to “Sunset Hikes…”

  1. Kim Terry February 10, 2011 at 4:23 AM #

    Looks and sounds like you guys are having a blast! So happy for you:) Love reading your updates!

  2. Wendy February 9, 2011 at 9:28 PM #

    The PIX are great! Thank you for sharing…I miss you guys and can’t wait to see you in a couple months!

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