Thursday, October 6, 2016

Climbing Into a Volcano

At Diamond Head
Now I admit that the title is a bit dramatic . . . We actually visited Diamond Head State Monument but 300,000 years ago this crater WAS formed by a volcanic eruption. This site is the most recognized landmark in Hawaii, and was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1968. During the war the strategic location and panoramic views of the surrounding area from of the crater walls made this an ideal location for island defense, so observation posts, gun emplacement, and fire control stations were installed.

The infrastructure built by the military provided the basis for the current facility. There is a 1.3 km hike up the crater walls to the top. Although not a long hike, it involves a climb of 560 ft, 173 steps up, a 52 step circular staircase climb, two tunnels (one 225 ft long), and then 82 stairs back down to the original trail. All this is connected by a steep switch-back trail up
Through the Tunnel
the crater wall. All of this is part of the original military installation.

The trail is popular. There was a steady stream of people making the climb to the 761 ft observation tower area. There were at least three school groups and hundreds of tourists in a steady line all the way up and down the hike. We were properly outfitted for the adventure, with good shoes, hats and water, but there were many people struggling up the slippery trails in flip-flops or dress shoes, and I saw one woman in heels. It was a sunny hot day, with 28° temperatures and many people did not have water with them. I was surprised at how easy I found the climb. I listened to people huffing and puffing and breathing hard where I was fine; I guess I am in better shape than I thought. My knees were feeling it on the way down, but I found it a very pleasant morning adventure.
Wear Appropriate Footware?

I do think we will take it easy the rest of the day however.

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