STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN, HAWAII
When Kathy first moved to Hawaii, she, Madie and I all talked about how when someday we went to visit Kathy we had to hike Stairway to Heaven. This was roughly 3 years ago. Last February when the Stairway to Heaven hike closed we were all slightly devastated thinking we had lost our opportunity to go together! But this trip around, we knew we couldn't leave Hawaii until we at least tried to hike Stairway together. So we did our research. Knowing it was illegal we wanted to scope out as much information as we could online before we attempted the hike potentially signing ourselves up for $600 tickets and up to 6 months in jail. Hashtag heavy stuff right? We spent a good amount of time googling everything we could find about the hike and after gathering a decent amount of info on why it closed, the current status of the stairs, where the trail head was located, average round trip times, etc. we decided we just had to give it a try. The night before we went to bed at 10PM to wake up at 2:30AM to hike. We ended up arrive at Haiku Village just before 4AM. Quick side note: one of the main reasons the hike is illegal because of serious trespassing. Once we arrive in the Haiku Village neighborhood we figured out the best place to park and then climbed down into a canal, past a few backyards, through a sketchy jungle until finally we reached the street passing underneath the highway (yes, these were the best directions we found online). Right after we passed under the highway we ran into the guard that watches over the base of the stairs. The guard warned us that hiking the stairs was illegal and considered trespassing. But something inside of us that just had to press forward with the hike so we thanked the guard for the warning and started to head toward the base of the stairs. However before the guard was out of sight I turned around and threw up the shaka, the guard shaka'd back and for some reason I just knew she was our advocate in doing the hike. So we started our journey up the stairs. Before reached the first of five platforms we got caught in a huge rainstorm. We were getting soaked with every step but we just held tight to the railing and kept climbing up. Admittedly there were times where each of us were a bit nervous - a majority of the stairs prior to the first platform are destroyed - but we kept a prayer in our heart and deep down knew we would be okay. After climbing for quite a bit we finally reached the top of the hike where the WWII bunker is located. We spent some time at the top drying off from the rain, adding some layers for warmth all while making small talk with the other few hikers that were willing to risk the hike like us. When we could finally tell the sun was starting to rise and the clouds part we decided to hike down to one of the lower platforms so we could get out of the clouds and actually see the sun rise over the water. IT. WAS. STUNNING. Not kidding, the view was incredible! After taking several thousand photos we started to slowly hike back down. Because the stairs were wet from the storm - and now we had the added wind - we moved slowly. Plus, it seemed like every ten feet we hiked we had to stop to take more photos! Finally we reached the bottom of the staircase. As we walked towards the guard a fellow hiker and I went wanted to thank her for honestly not giving us a fine and throwing us in jail. We chatted with her for a bit and the guard really was sweet. Towards the end of the conversation the guard told us she actually waited for our group to get down but once she saw us reach the bottom she called the cops on the group of boys behind us. The guard said they were extremely disrespectful. But to avoid the cop, she recommended we get out of there FAST! The second we heard that we all jetted off and were sprinting under fences, through the jungle, in and out of backyards until we finally reached the safety of our car. Even though we were drenched, completely covered in mud and with legs that were entirely numb from the 3,922 stairs - it had been a long time since I had felt this happy and felt this accomplished. Long story short - hiking Stairway to Heaven was the most rewarding, illegal activity I have ever done in my twenty two years of life. Once we got back home Kathy had to go straight to school. Madie and I on the other hand passed out on Bikini Beach for the afternoon. Later that afternoon we picked Kathy up from school and all of us got ready to head over to the Polynesian Cultural Center for the night. Kathy and Meke were able to get us discounted tickets to a luau! So touristy but we embraced our inner tourists and loved every minute of it! Plus Meke was able to get us a special pineapple smoothie for free! And we all got recruited to go on stage and do mini dance performances - Meke's booty shaking was a crowd favorite. Spending the night at the PCC was the perfect way to finish out my trip in Hawaii. It was cherry on top to the already most perfect trip with my best friends. So yes you got it - the next day was spent driving to the airport, flying into Vegas and driving all the way to Provo. Mahalo Hawaii! Sure do love you! xx, m.