I awoke early today and called home to talk to Mel for awhile. I just love cell phones with plenty of minutes. Then I went downstairs to the conceirge to ask how to get to Diamondhead crater. I could have gotten the car from my coworker but I figured I’d let a bus driver take on that job. It would turn out to be the best 2 dollars I’ve spent so far.

Of course, the bus takes longer but it’s way easier. In Honolulu, it’s called simply “The Bus” which is just how I like it – short and to the point. He dropped us off at the entrance to the park which, it turned out, is not nearly to the crater. And it’s uphill. Right away I was glad that I’d brought my backpack and put water and a snack in it. I trudged up the hill to the tunnel. OK so a crater is pretty hard to get into so they blasted a tunnel into the side years ago. Inside, you pick up the trailhead for your hike up to the rim.

It started off easily enough with a nice slightly sloped concrete sidewalk. It very quickly turned from flat concrete into rock and it got steeper. Then it got steeper again. I started to sweat. The trail began to switchback and get steeper still and I started puffing pretty hard. I stopped to rest a few times. When I figured I was nearing the top of the rim, I came to a long set of stairs which ended up in a tunnel. Upon exiting the curving tunnel, I found myself at yet another long set of very steep stairs. By this time, I had rested several times and was getting pretty stinky. At the top of this set of stairs I almost cried when I saw another stairway – this one a spiral one with steel steps that went up into the dark for who knows how far? It turned out not to be far. That let me out into an old gun emplacement with narrow slit-like windows which I had to crawl out of in order to climb the remaining few feet of trail out onto the top. From there is one of the best views ever. I stayed up there a long time taking in the view (and resting up).

When I started down, my legs were already pretty tired and I was a bit worried about tripping on the way down or turning my ankle but that didn’t happen. It was a pretty easy trip back down but it was a long way to that bus stop. I made the mistake of getting back on the bus at the same spot I got on instead of walking across the street and catching it on its way back into town. By staying on it, I got an hour long (or so it seemed) tour of that end of the island which was kind of cool. If only the windows hadn’t been so dirty, I could have gotten some good pics. I was too tired to bother with getting off. It finally got back into town and I got off in the shopping district.

I explored a great many shops but not nearly all of them. I bought some touristy gifts for the kids, got a smoothie, ate at KFC and headed back to the hotel for a shower and an NFL playoff game.

Around 6:00, the two guys I’m sharing a car with called and wanted to go to Roy’s which is one of those uber-expensive seafood restaurants with a genuine chef, unique dishes, presentation, texture, and all that Food Channel stuff.  It was very good; there was a  man playing guitar and a little girl at one of the tables who took it upon herself to dance.  She had apparently taken hula lessons earlier in the day and had taken them very much to heart.

After that I was whipped.  More tomorrow.