National Park Access Free

2014 National Park "Free Entry" Dates!! January 20th Martin Luther King Jr. Day; February 15-17th Presidents Day weekend; April 19-20th opening weekend of National Park Week; August 25th National Park Service Birthday; September 27th National Public Lands Day; November 11th Veterans Day

Saturday, August 9, 2014

#30 - Diamond Head

Diamond Head
Le'ahi, or Diamond Head, is one of the most recognized landmarks on the Hawaii Islands. Sitting at the end of Waikiki, Le'ahi was formed 300,000 years ago by a volcanic eruption, getting its "Diamond Head" name from the calcite crystals on the slopes of its crater.

I arrived for a short stay mid-afternoon, and with little time to get a hike in, chose a route from the hotel, along Waikiki, to the Diamond Head summit - a 9 mile out and back. My challenge was time, as the park closed at 6:00, with the last hikers allowed in at 4:30.

The area around Waikiki is alive with activity and beauty. This is "Duke" country. Duke Kahanamoku, Gold Medalist Olympian, is revered in Hawaii, and his story is a good one. Swimmer, surfer, life-saver - Duke is a modern day hero.
Heading out along Waikiki toward Diamond Head

Duke Kahanamoku
 There are a number of statues along the way paying homage to Hawaiian culture and it's interesting to read the stories and learn the history behind them.

Makua and Kila - A children's story honoring Hawaiian values of family and the ocean
Once through the resort area, there are still a few miles to go before Diamond Head. While there is a beautiful view of Diamond Head from the resort area, the access road is on the back side of the crater, adding time and miles to to the hike.

Entrance to Diamond Head Park
Through the Crater Wall
Diamond Head - the Far Crater Wall
At this stage, it has been 3.5 miles to get to the trail head. Now, a .8 mile climb to the summit.

Begin ascent
Initial stage of trail
Working way up...

Through final tunnel

Up a long line of stairs
Spiral Ladder to Observation Area
Looking back on Entrance Tunnel (middle of photo)
The distance and climbing made for a great workout. When I arrived at the summit, a stronger than normal breeze blew, and it felt good to cool off and enjoy the views.

Waikiki from Diamond Head
Diamond Head Lighthouse

Closing out a 24 hour day with a 9 mile hike!
Afterward, it was time to hike the 4.5 miles back - just in time for sunset along the beach. People were ending the daytime portions of their day...
Final Volleyball Match
Last chance to walk on a strap tied between palm trees...
Had I not hiked so far, I would have got my yoga in
O.K... Maybe not.

A final flight for the drone

Surfers at Sunset

While I had hoped to do more during this trip, I was glad to have a few hours to get such a great hike in.
A good hike, tired muscles, and finally a chance for sleep

Keep hiking, friends!


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