It was 1:40A.M when my alarm clock sounded. I cut it off and lay in bed, consciously deciding to go back to sleep. No, I can't, I've been dying to do this. Who cares how hard-core it's supposed to be! You've got someone who knows where it is, may as well go! I packed almonds and a few sheets of tissue into the Camelback weary that was, in fact, "all we would need" and headed out with Marshall and Kevin (our "veteran") for the trek. Considering the hike has been closed due to many reasons (people in the neighborhood complaining about the overflow of people and trash coming through, liability issues, and land negotiations), there is a security guard who gets there way before the sun goes up to deter any adventure seekers. We were determined to beat him (as were several other hikers) and we started the up the pathway to the entrance at 2:40 A.M. Considering the hike is illegal and after going through the trouble of getting, there no one wants to get caught, so we ventured practically the entirety of the way up the stairs in the dark. Like, without a flashlight. IT. WAS. CRAZY. It took this girl forever to get up the stairs because not only were they vertical the seemingly the whole way (several points where they were like a ladder stuck to the face of the mountain. I was hanging on for dear life!), but because the stairs were narrow and often times open-faced with no close land beneath them. Talk about making your knees weak! Looking back, I am actually thankful I couldn't see where I was going on the way up because I most likely would have been 150 times more petrified.
When we reached the 4th platform right before finishing off to the summit, we encountered the rest of the groups who had made the journey huddled together, freezing to death and waiting for the sun to rise to continue (the last trek was SO COLD and wet and crazy windy!). We waited for about an hour, totally unprepared and shivering but made some new friends in the process. Finally around 5AM we decided to brave the treacherous winds and scary conditions and just head to the top (you think I'm being dramatic with my explanations, I know you do. But I swear I'm not.) Unfortunately we had our heads in the clouds and couldn't see any views that particular morning from the summit, but were proud we MADE IT TO THE TOP! The venture down was slippery and scary and had to be done with much caution, but was certainly quicker and a lot prettier once the sun rose.
Here's one of the most intense days I've ever had, hiking in the dark and clinging on for my life, 4,000 stairs up into the Koolau Mountain Range. Whew! Shot all on my iphone. NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.