Monday, May 31, 2010

A Grueling Hike up Koko Head - Hawaii

Hike #1 of 10 for my 101 in 1001 list...

After leaving the photowalk on the North Shore, I tackled the grueling hike up Koko Head afterward.  At around 4:30 p.m., I hiked and did not return until nearly two hours later. 

My friend mentioned that it can take up to half an hour or up to two hours, depending on your physical fitness level.  Honestly, I am not that out of shape, but this hike made me realize I am.  I will have to continue hiking this and other trails to build my endurance. 

I still have no idea how people can run up and down Koko Head and to hear that someone actually made it in 15 minutes - running - is unbelievable.  I struggled immensely as I hiked the steep, old rail road path in the hot sun.  I'm still amazed that children were hiking Koko Head too!  My mouth dropped, as I saw a 5 year old at the summit, as well as several other young chidren. As I was hiking, I remember thinking to myself, "I don't think this hike would be suitable for children," as I reluctantly climbed one section of the path.  I guess I was wrong.

There is one section of the path that is above ground.  I'm skinny, so if I was to fall, I could slip right between the rail road tracks and hit the ground below!  That's what I thought as I carefully hiked the area. I'm also scared of heights, so I had to use all four of my limbs to hike this particular section of the path, knowing that I would have a better chance of not falling if I held on to the rail road tracks as I climbed.  How in the world does anyone run Koko Head, especially on this path!?  I still haven't figured it out, but I'm completely amazed by it.  (For those of you who feel you will not be able to make it past the part of the hike I mentioned, there is an alternate path).

You wouldn't want to fall through these cracks ...

Thankfully, after passing the difficult part of the path, the rest of the train tracks were on the ground.  But the climb becomes steeper as you head towards the summit.  As you hike towards the top of Koko Head, you'll notice more and more hikers hanging out on the side of the path, taking breaks to catch their breath. 

After hitting the summit, however, it's the most exhilirating feeling in the world! Sit down, relax, and take in the view.  The wind feels incredible. It's nice and cool.  It's the perfect place to reward yourself after a tough hike.

The view is unbelievably incredible and worth every step to the top.  Not only will you get a glimpse into Koko Head Crater, but there's a 360 view of the surrounding area to include Hanauma Bay, Makapu'u, and more.

After taking the time to relax a top Koko Head, we finally hiked down the trail, which I thought was ten times easier!  However, I was getting a little nervous as a friend kept on slipping on the path behind me.  I didn't want him to get hurt, especially because it would be a terrifying fall.  But luckily, we made it down rather quickly and safely, although not as fast as the older woman running down the path! 

It was such a relief to have finished the hike.  My legs felt like jello as they wobbled after the hike, while I could tell I was extremely dehyrated from hiking in the sun.  In fact, I felt like hurling, as I asked the lady at the gas station if she had re-hydration packets for me to pour into my gatorade.  She instead offered a free Krispy Creme donut because she thought that something sweet would make me feel better since no rehydration packets were available.  Isn't that so sweet?

My advice to you is to make sure you are hydrated before you hike and to bring a lot of water with you a long the way! Learn from my experience or you'll truly suffer the consequences up until the next day. And let me tell you, it is one of the worst feelings ever to have a pounding headache, chills, and nausea as you try your best to rest, while waking up periodically with blurry vision.  You'll want to sleep endlessly and will wake up with an unrelentless headache until the next day.  Trust me.  Drink a lot of water!

The hike to Koko Head was a lot of fun and totally worth it.  The view was beautiful.  In fact, it was so beautiful that I want to make a copy of the aerial photos I took a top Koko Head to put into a picture frame or to hang on the wall as a memory.  I had an incredible time and I plan to return again.  It will test my endurance and push me to my limits.  Maybe one day, I'll be able to hike a little faster too.  An accomplishment I look forward to ... From what I hear, the more you hike Koko Head, the easier it gets!  Eventually, you may want to run it!

If you plan to hike Koko Head, bring a camera too!  It will be an incredible hike, so have fun and enjoy the moment.


  1. Wow! You're doing so great on your list! Kayaking, horseback riding, hiking, they all sound like fun. Where do you find the time to do all these things? I need to start planning things to do :)

  2. I honestly have no idea how I have time for anything with my busy schedule, but somehow I manage to squeeze things in. hehehehe You should definitely plan some things out. You'll have so much fun! =)

  3. What a great idea! I should do the same. Love the pictures!
    from 20sb


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