A Hike in Honolulu

Koko Crater Railway Trail, Oahu

Koko Crater Railway Trail, Oahu

Around this time last year, I was lucky enough to  be in Hawaii. Aaaaah… the sun, the sand, the sea… My husband and I had won a $5000 prize in a lottery and decided to invest it in ourselves. It was hard to be away from the kids for two weeks, but at the same time, it was awesome to have that many days to ourselves. It was a great decision, and I realize that we were really lucky to be able to take that trip.

Near the end of our two weeks there, while driving around Honolulu, we spotted people on the trail in the photo, going pretty much straight up the side of Koko Crater. My husband being the more daring one, he thought we should try it. So, like all foolish tourists, we plunged right into the adventure, not quite fully prepared. There were signs warning of the danger of falls, and that we would be using the trail at our own risk. But, we had water, we had sunscreen, and we were wearing decent shoes, so we thought, “How bad could it be?”

Not surprisingly, we soon realized that the top was a LOT farther away than it looked. Maybe we should have read the online information and reviews before we attempted the climb?! Then we would have known that there are about 1100 unevenly-spaced, giant “steps” made up of old railway ties, which hardly resemble steps. We took plenty of rest breaks, and yes, I will freely admit that I crawled over the section that traversed a small ravine. Meanwhile others, obviously regulars, were RUNNING past us on their way up, or down. It took us a good, long time to get to the top, and we were very grateful to finally get there!

Hanauma Bay in the distance

Hanauma Bay in the distance

Once at the top, we were able to enjoy some spectacular views, and we got to meet some interesting tourists and locals as well. The alternative to retracing our steps was to thread our way along the thin ridge of the volcano’s crater–no thank you!–so, we chose to go back down the railway trail. We were exhausted but satisfied with ourselves once we safely reached the bottom. The sunburns were another story, but we didn’t clue into those right away.

I’ve had plenty of time since then to reflect on all the cliches associated with climbing mountains and surviving the challenges of life. In one way, though, this adventure was a very good lesson for me. I am someone who likes to be prepared. I like to carefully plan my decisions, and I am prone to worrying about things I can’t control. The fact that I agreed to plunge into this without having read all the reviews, or knowing how hard it would be, or how long it would take–and that, in spite of this, I managed to do it–was a really big deal. Just like my journey with God, I don’t always know where he’s leading me, or how he wants me to get there, but I continue to try to figure it out. God has gotten me safely to this point, through all kinds of obstacles and challenges, and I know he’s not about to stop now. I know I could have figured out these lessons from my experiences at home, but it was definitely memorable to be able to do it in Hawaii!

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