Hawaii’s Oahu Island is home to an inactive volcano known as Diamond Head. At a height of 232m it is by no means a tall mountain, but it’s a huge draw for tourists and is the biggest sightseeing spot around Waikiki. The reason for its popularity is the spectacular view it offers.
Getting up extremely early so I could catch the sunrise, I caught a taxi to the entrance of Diamond Head’s trail. While two to three hours are recommended to enjoy the whole mountain experience, only about forty minutes are needed to get to the top. It seemed like an easy enough trek, even for someone like me who rarely climbs mountains.
I started my ascent at about half past six in the morning. I originally thought I was starting earlier than I had to, but looking up the mountain I was shocked to see tons of people already making their way to the top. All of a sudden I felt under the gun to get up there and picked up my speed. “If I don’t hurry, I’m going to miss out on the sunrise!” I thought to myself as I marched upwards over some rugged trails, probably flying by some nice sights along the way.
Thirty minutes later, I arrived at the top of the ridge—and just in the nick of time! There was the sun coming over the horizon. A few clouds were scattered in the sky but luckily not enough to block out the brilliant sunrise. The already breathtaking view of the island was further bathed in a soft orange light unlike any I’ve ever seen. There was no question that what I was seeing now was greater than anything I might have missed on the way up. Everything was so perfect; it was almost as if it was planned in advance.
After the initial wave of wonder wore off I looked around a little bit. I noticed that the ridge was full of sightseers all getting their picture taken in front of the sunset. I had a warm feeling to be sharing this with so many people from around the world.
And then, looking up a little, I could see a plane as it was taking off from Honolulu airport crossing this beautiful tableau.
I must have spent a half an hour just taking everything in, and after another 30 minutes I made my way down the mountain. At this point the soreness in my legs set in and reminded me that it’s been a while since I’ve climbed. Despite the pain, I left feeling on top of the world having experienced a moving combination of people and nature that I will cherish for a long time.
If any of you are making plans to go down to Hawaii, I encourage you to fit Diamond Head into your itinerary. It has a certain power that will move you beyond your expectations.
▼Sunrise! There were a few clouds, but luckily the sun was easily seen.
▼I was surrounded by other sightseers all taking pictures.
▼The land was draped in a beautiful orange.
▼Whoa! That might be a little too bright!
▼From the top of Diamond Head I could follow Waikiki’s skyline to the end.
▼There were a lot of Japanese people around but also many people from other countries.
▼Facing the ocean, I was even lucky enough to see some dolphins.
▼You can get a bird’s eye view of the ocean from this spot. Oahu Island was once used as a military base.
▼Here is the top.
▼On the way to the top, I had to go through a lot of narrow tunnels.
▼This road is way too narrow, and the ground is uneven with bumpy rocks.
▼At first, the path was like this – comfy paved roads to walk along.
▼You can also eat at this bus by the entrance. Notice the “ice” kanji. 😉
▼Look at the rays coming off the sun. Gorgeous.
▼The entrance to Diamond Head has vending machines. Since there are no shops or machines at the top, buy some water here before heading up the mountain.
[ Read in Japanese ]