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Night Hike: Haiku Stairs

Trail to the Haiku Stairs (aka Stairway to Heaven)

Walking to the trailhead.

Two days ago Cory started tracking the moon. He specializes in moonrise and moonset photography. When the moon rises at the right time (too early and it’ll be too bright out) and over the right spot on the horizon, Cory will go hike to the top of a mountain and take pictures. He told me he once spent 12 hours at the top of Diamond Head at night to shoot both the moonrise and the moonset. I find this to be awesome.

Last night, a few of us were invited on one such outing. The moonrise was just after dark. Cory figured if we hiked to a spot on the Windward Side, we’d be able to see the moon rise over Kaneohe and the ocean. And the spot he suggested was the summit of Haiku Stairs. This was an invite I could not pass up. Jen and Josh (808 Goonies) didn’t pass up on it either.

The four of us set out to the trailhead at dusk.

The one factor we could not predict was the weather. We new it was overcast over the Koolaus but we could see many breaks in the clouds. And we hoped that the cloud level would rise as the night went on. When we arrived the first platform on the Stairs, things were not looking good. We were socked in.

The mist gave the city lights a dream-like quality though.

There were a few breaks in the clouds here and there. But, no moon.

On this night, I think the real star of the show was the Stairs. The city lights gave them a eerie and ominous look.

For a few hours, we sat and talked story at the platform, taking pictures whenever there was a break in the clouds.

And finally, we descended the stairs in darkness and rain, the H3 as our torch. Even though we couldn’t see the moon, it was a fun and peaceful way to spend a Wednesday evening.

Note: Due to the controversial nature of this hike, I’ve left out the details of our approach to the trailhead.

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This story was last modified on February 20, 2012. (Originally published in June 2011.)

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