A sudden increase in the amount of Koko Head trail “tweets” and “status updates” lately prompted me to rearrange the sched – just a tad – and dig up some old images to pen this article. Who knows? After I’m pau, maybe I can jump on the ol’ bandwagon and send out a sweet tweet myself.
Back in April, Mark and Noele (friends of wifey and I), wanted to do something outdoorsy. An easy hike perhaps. Growing up in Hawaii Kai, I suggested the Koko Head Crater trail hike (pu’u ma’i), figuring stairs and a straight path shouldn’t be too bad for the three out-of-towners. Right? 😛
At first glance, the beginning of the trail is a bit tricky to find. You have to make your way through a hidden, mini trail behind the left field fence of the Mustang/Pony league baseball field.
Path to the trail head starts behind the baseball fields
Walking up towards the Koko Head Crater trail head
That eventually leads to a paved road, which is the end of Koko Head Park Road, I believe.
Noele and Mark, the happy couple, on the way to the Koko Head Crater trailhead
Follow that, and you’ll get to the grassy portion that leads to the trailhead…
Still with lots of energy
… which leads to the beginning of the infamous Koko Head “steps”…
They have no idea what’s ahead of them *grin*
Do you think they got their tickets for the gun show?
Believe me, this energy will not last. There are approximately 1,100 “steps” on the trail so before long, the four of us will be sporting very different looks on our faces…
The “steps” are actually part of an abandoned railroad track that was once used by the military to transport supplies to a lookout shelter at the top.
“Steps” on Koko Head Trail hike
Continuing a bit more, the energy will drain, but you’ll start to get a good view of your surroundings…
Noele drained, Mark still ok, and wifey somewhere in between.
Looking southeast, the shooting range that caused the controversial closing of this trail comes into sight.
To the Northwest, you’ll see the beauty that is Hawaii Kai. 🙂
View of Hawaii Kai
Continuing on, yet more energy is expended, but you’ll find solace in knowing that you’re about halfway there.
Noele resting, Mark losing it, and a peace sign from yours truly
The view looking back
How do we know we’re about halfway? The dreaded bridge. Dun-dun DUN!
Bridge-like portion of the Koko Head Trail Hike
Yup yup, that’s no illusion. The bottom drops out from under the “steps” and forms a bridge-like path in the middle of the trail.
Some sure-footed hikers choose to walk over it, while others (of the fraidy cat kind) opt to crawl.
Me making fun of wifey
Noele taking the safer route next to Mark
Ed’s Tip: For those who’d like to avoid the bridge altogether, there is actually a makeshift path that goes around the bridge to the right (left on the way down).
Once you conquer the bridge (dun-dun DUN!), it’s much of the same, but steeper.
View from about 3/4 of the way up…
When you’re up this high, your views to the left and right change quite a bit.
The Koko Head Shooting complex is now just a mere speck.
Your view of Hawaii Kai is partially obstructed by shrubbery.
One final look behind…
Looking down at about the 85% mark on Koko Head trail
… and ahead…
I see the light!
… tell us that we’re almost there!
Time to make one final push to the summit! You can dooooo eeeet!
The gang gets reenergized after catching a glimpse of the summit.
Alas, the graffiti art of Sergeant “Mok” greets us as we take our final step.
Artwork at the top of Koko Head trail – A welcome sight
With several shaded areas here, this would be a good opportunity to get out of the sun and catch your breath, drink some fluids or hurl up your breakfast. I won’t name any names. *grin*
Good place to catch your breath in the shade
Ed’s Tip: don’t be fooled into thinking that that was “it”… Once you catch your breath, follow the somewhat hidden trail that wraps around to the right to discover an immaculate view of the other side of Koko Head. What a beautiful sight from about 1208 feet above sea level!
View from the top of Koko Head
View from the top of Koko Head, overlooking part of Sandy Beach and the Hawaii Kai Golf Course.
Ed’s Tip: As the winds are very strong up here, it’s a nice place to cool off, but watch your footing and be careful at the same time.
Here, you’ll also find an abandoned military shelter, which makes for a great place to rest…
Mark, Noele and wifey taking a snack break next to the shelter
… as well as take a group photo from on top of.
Group photo from atop the shelter. Yes, it’s either REALLY bright or we all need a tan. We’ll just say it’s really bright! 😉
Going down is a breeze. Depending on the step and the length of your leg (and your knees and your athleticism 😛 ), you could literally jog/run down the stairs.
Wifey, Noele and Mark playing it safe
Ed’s Tip: I would recommend leaning on the side of caution and taking a nice, leisure pace. Sure, you’re excited to be pau and want to get going sooner than later, but if you run down the stairs, your momentum will really take you and it becomes difficult to stop.
Before long, we’re already at the halfway point of the bridge (dun-dun-DUN!). The ladies decided to “cheat” and take the side path. 8)
The side path around the bridge
Mark shows us how we manly men roll.
Mark coming down over the bridge on the Koko Head trail
Several hundred, quick steps later…
Almost at the bottom!
… we approach the end.
Mark celebrates with his Heisman pose
Back on solid ground, we find a shady area to catch our breath again.
Noele, myself and wifey catching our breath (and blowing our noses) at the bottom of Koko Head trail
Some deal with it better than others…
Mark and Noele wondering what the heck just happened
Once recovered, we did what any other akamai local does after a workout to refresh: Shave Ice! Good thing Kokonuts Shave Ice & Snacks (the one that Barack Obama made famous) is at nearby Koko Marina Shopping Center.
Kokonuts Shave Ice & Snacks sign
Best buds Noele and wifey are all smiles in anticipation of their shave ice.
Mark and Noele literally attacking their shave ice
My work of art before it got destroyed
“What a refreshing way to end our day of stairwell hell!”
If you didn’t notice, that right there, was a sweet tweet. 8)