Apr 25, 2011

The Journey goes to Hawaii, and then pukes.

We are in Lihue on Kauai Island! It's been a great trip. Christy and I spent two days in Waikiki before meeting up with my parents here.

The first morning in Waikiki we hiked the famous Diamond Head trial. Diamond Head is an extinct volcano crater adjacent to Waikiki. There's some old military observation bunkers on the crater rim that you can hike up to. But, it's a heck of a hike.

Elevation-wise, it's only about 720 feet. But it's almost straight up. So the trail goes up in a series of switchbacks. It was pretty strenuous, but I was making it. It was hot. Way too hot for this Alaskan boy. After the switchbacks, there's a set of 54 stairs. Then you go into a tunnel that's about 100 feet long. The trail at this point is barely wide enough for one person. So when you meet someone one coming down, you'd have to squeeze past each other.

After the tunnel was 99 steep steps. After a quick rest and a large drink of water (which we'll later see was a huge mistake...) we started up. Half way through I wanted to stop and rest, but there was people behind us & people waiting to come down, so there was no stopping.

At the top was a spot to kinda get a little out of the way, so we paused there to rest. And at that moment I realized I was going to vomit. There was a little drainage trench at the side, so at least I wouldn't puke all over the trail. After a few moments of rest, I wasn't feeling any better, but I hadn't vomited (yet) and I wasn't feeling worse so we pushed on.

After another short tunnel there was two stories of spiral stairs and then you came into the bunker. We paused there for a moment but it was hot & muggy in there, so we figured we'd get out into the open where the wind was blowing. To get out, you had crawl out through the observation slit.

From there was a trail that goes up on top of the observation post, where you have a 360 degree view of the island. Half way up the trail I paused, trying to suppress the urge to heave. From the top of the trail was one more set of steps, with about 10 steps total. Half way along those I knew at the top that I was going to lose it.

Luckily for everyone else, there was a large trash barrel at the top. I made a beeline for it and then all systems went in reverse. I had drank almost a liter a water at this point and it all came up. It came up hard and fast enough it was coming out my nose too. Christy had gotten to the top a few seconds before me and was off to the side. She couldn't see the trash can, just me bent over puking. She thought I was just letting it splash all over the ground, so she was staying away.

Once it was all over, I felt way better. I was a little lightheaded, but at least my stomach didn't hurt.

The view from on top was worth the pain though. And the sense of accomplishment. All the guide books warn that the hike can't be done by people who aren't in shape. Well, we did it. But I guarantee I couldn't have done it if I hadn't started the Journey when I did.

And here is the picture looking up the 99 steps...

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