Monday, March 8, 2010

Diamond Head (Le'ahi) State Monument

We went hiking at this place somewhere in mid Feb (**googled the 2 pics above =)). It was totally a sunny day but for once, I didn't complaint about the weather (when I first got here, all I did was whining about how hot it was although I knew it was in fact summer time), in contrary I think it was perfect! It was breezy all the way and the boys had fun running all the way to the summit. The two older boys reached the top probably 15 minutes earlier than the rest of us. The trail length is about 1.6 miles round trip and it took us less than 2 hours to complete the hike.

A little background information about this place - The name is Le'ahi, an ovoid-shaped crater believed to have been formed about 300,000 years ago during a single, brief eruption. It covers 350 acres with it's width being greater than its height. The trail to the summit of Le'ahi was built in 1908 as part of the U.S Army Coastal Artillery defense system. Diamond Head Fire Control Station was also built at the summit between 1908-1910. The word Le'ahi Hawaiian means fish forehead since the summit resembles the forehead (lae) of the 'ahi' or tuna fish (now that reminds me of fresh poke - yum!) Nowadays Le'ahi is more commonly known as Diamond Head as in the late 1700s, Western explorers and traders who visited Le'ahi mistook the calcite crystals in the rocks on the slope of the crater for diamonds.

Pretty blue sky. See the mountain? That's where we went. The place where we parked our car, the trailhead is located on the crater floor at an elevation of about 200 ft.

One of the pretty views on the way up.

Walking on concrete portion of the trail is much easier. The dirt trail is much steeper but is not difficult since the boys could handle it. Ezzat was slower than his brothers though and was with us all the way up. By this time, Emir and Farhan were no where to be seen since they were so much faster.

The first tunnel - we had to climb steep stairway to get to this point. It's a narrow one, about 225-foot long according to the information leaflet we got.

This is the second stairways - 99 steps! The cross-beams above supported camouflaging as this place was used as a site for coastal defense of O'ahu.

At the top of the stairs is another tunnel which is the entry to the lowest level of Diamond Head Fire Control Station.

There is also a spiral staircase that we had to climb to get to the exit of the crater.

And this is the beautiful view we came upon once we're out! Thank god for that coz I began to feel a bit claustrophobic with the small narrow spaces.

See the space in between the ground and rock/concrete? That's where we exited. The slit is pretty narrow in height and we had to bow really low to get in and out.

Look closely to see the light house.

Going to the uppermost level of the Fire Control Station

View of the crater from the summit.

View of Honolulu from above.

One of the viewing stations

The not so fun part for me

I see light at the end of the tunnel!

Going down the 99 steps was way easier but looking down at the height - yikes!

Some views on the way down. Almost back to the Comfort Station!

Overall it's not a difficult hike, in between easy to moderate, and the kids had fun especially Emir. Here's Ezzat looking a bit tired.

Fun time climbing up a tree. It's the boys' first time!

Emir thinks he looks like Alvin in Alvin and the Chipmunks

I really want to ride that trolley one day just for fun before we leave this island =)

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