Hawaii Life: Conquering Koko Head......Twice!


In the last year, I have climbed Koko Head twice.  I went up and climbed down both times with much regret in my head and body.  But at the top, I couldn't help but feel a sense of peace and wonder taking in the view.

Koko Head is roughly a mile and a half round trip from the parking lot and about 1040 steps on a pretty steep incline.  The "steps" of Koko Head are actually old railroad tracks put in place during WWII to transport military personnel and supplies up and down from the lookout/radar station.


The first time I climbed Koko Head was last July.  My friend Alysia was picking up her tea order and told me they were doing Koko Head in the morning.  I was not prepared and had just did a workout on the stairs that night.  But I knew if I didn't do it then, I would probably never do it.

So I got up at 3:30 the morning and waited for my 4am ride to arrive.  We got to Koko Head a little before 5 am and it was still dark. It didn't take long for my group to leave me behind.  In fact, at one point I thought about turning around and just waiting for them at the car.


I had hoped to make it to the top by the sunrise (no such luck). However, this year I found out you can't even see the sunrise from Koko Head, so I feel better about my less than fast pace.

In my slow journey to the top, I came along another group where one member was moving at a slower speed than the rest.  Eventually, the guy turned to me and told me I might as well join them since I was on my own and they were going at the same rate as myself.

As we crept our to the top, I told the two faster members of the group to go ahead and me and my new buddy would just slow crawl to the top together.  I don't remember her name, all I remember is that she was a teacher from North Carolina.  But for the last half hour or so of that climb, she was my best friend.

My Partner in the End

 Her and her crew

There is no denying the view from the top of Koko Head is beautiful.  I am definitely not a nature girl, but from the top I can appreciate in that short time people's love for God's creation.

To this day, I still love looking at the pictures I took from the top of Koko Head.  The first trip was a bit of an overcast day but the view was still amazing.

Not quite the top but after a bit of a climb









Now the climb down from the top is another story.  It honestly feels worse than going up.  Since it is a dirt path with tracks over it, stepping down is all about technique.  Unfortunately, the climb flared up an old knee injury and the whole trip down was just miserable.

I was amazed at the number of people who climbed up with no water bottles as I passed them.  I killed my 40oz Hydroflask and even that didn't feel like enough.

Eventually, I reached the bottom and my legs were shaking so bad it was ridiculous. Afterwards, we headed to Ann Miller's for a well deserved breakfast.  To my amusement, the elderly gentlemen, who passed me multiple times in my one round trip, asked if that was our warm up as we headed to the car.

I laughed and told him no.  That was our workout for the day, hell for the week, and we were headed to get pancakes.

We later learned that he climbs Koko Head multiple times each morning.  He would later pass me multiple times on my second trip to Koko Head as well.




Now, I won't overwhelm you with too much detail from the second hike.  But I will give you the highlights.

My best friend from college, Dorian, came to visit me this summer and the main thing she wanted to do was Koko Head.  Needless to say, I was less than excited.

After convincing her to do Lanaki instead, because you could actually see the sunrise from the top, we both overslept.  So with a late start, we made the drive to Koko Head where she had a minor episode after seeing how steep the hike was.

Despite her initial hesitation, she still managed to beat me to the top.  During my slow crawl behind her I managed to see a lot of dogs and little kids (I wouldn't bring my 4 year old), the old man with the walking sticks pass me yet again, and a man fall through the bridge.....well his leg anyways.

The climb back down was a bit of a disaster.  After starting off at a good pace, the heat started taking a beating on me and all I had left was ice in my Hydro Flask. I spent most of the climb down dumping it in my bra. Then the worst part of the climb happened.

I must of underestimated the drop of the step and the next thing I know I rolled my ankle and crashed on it with all my weight.  To make the event that much more beautiful, I still had a quarter of the way to climb down.

By the time I reached the bottom, I was almost in a dehydrated daze.  I made it to the car and my head felt like it was about to explode.  We headed to the nearest gas station, which was closed, before we had to turn around and find a Walgreens.  There I felt like I was about to throw up.  I don't remember much else except that I asked Dorian to drive us back to my house

After too short of a nap and a luau at Paradise Cove, we drove to the hospital.  Unfortunately, Tripler's less than top notch employees made me fell bad that I wasted Dorian and my time by even making the trip.

But despite the rough ending, I am glad she got to experience it. She said she plans to do it again with her sister in the future.  And once again, the views did not disappoint.
























I haven't blogged in almost a year. So be prepared for more Hawaii adventures to come.  If you would like to see video of my first trip up Koko Head, check it out here!