Koko Head isn't long, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in elevation. One thousand fifty railway ties lead you to the top of this mountain. Some of them are so far apart that it's like doing 1050 lunges. And if you're out of shape like me, it's 1050 tiny little tortures, one right after the other.
First Son recently got into some trouble. Actually he got into trouble on top of trouble on top of trouble. First Son was in deep. There was nothing more to take away from him, except for his life (trust me, I thought about it) so Mama had to get a little creative with punishment.
The kids aren't so crazy about hiking. We force them to do it from time to time, but it's so exhausting listening to the complaining that it's not always worth it. So First Son's punishment was to hike Koko Head with me and act like he was having the time of his life. I know. Diabolical.
I got him up before first light on a Saturday just because I am truly that mean, we had a bite to eat, filled our Camelbacks and headed east as the sun was coming up. Koko Head is supposed to be fabulous to see the sunrise from, but I have enough issues with balance, so I needed full light to pick my way to the top.
First Son and I started up the hill and I, no lie, was tired almost immediately. I freaked out a bit, because...1050 stairs, ya know. First Son was in better shape and ran up a few dozen stairs and then waited for me. When I finally reached him, expecting we would take a break, he took off again, like the stairs were a fun little playground for him. By the time I reached him about 100 stairs in I forced him to let me rest. He looked at me funny and said, "You're tired already? When was the last time you ran anyway?" I admitted it had been a while. "Maybe that's what's wrong with you," he concluded in his teenage brilliance as he trotted up a few dozen more steps like it was the easiest thing in the world.
He proclaimed that I could take a legitimate break when we reached a level spot, about halfway up. I heaved and wheezed my achy body to that spot. Occasionally someone would run past me and I would have to stop and shoot them the bird, but mostly it was just one foot in front of the other. One step at a time.
After my break, we came to the Bridge of Dread. The Bridge of Dread is fine if you're a train on your way to the top of Koko Head to resupply the pillbox during WWII. The Bridge of Dread is also fine if you have balance of any sort. The Bridge of Dread is not fine if you're me. The railway ties have nothing between them across the bridge. Nothing but a fifteen foot fall that would most certainly break some bones. You can go around this, but First Son insisted we go across it. He frolicked across it with the excellent balance he's acquired from years of skateboarding and I crawled across it, leaving my pride on the wayside, all the while declaring that I was not ashamed. I think First Son might have been a little ashamed of me though.
We made it in one piece and then the elevation got steep really quick. I don't really want to talk about the second half of the climb. It was brutal to say the least. I tried to do ten stairs and take a break, but could barely make five before I ran out of oxygen. First Son made it to the top ages before me and was resting enjoying the view while I struggled on. Finally I made it and was greeted with a stunning view that made the whole thing worth it.
We explored all the neat buildings and pillbox on the summit and took a few selfies until First Son declared that I had reached my selfie limit. Then we started down.
I was actually dreading going down the entire time I was going up. My left leg is shorter than my right leg so it's really awkward to lead with that foot. I had to go down the entire 1050 steps leading almost exclusively with my right foot. And it is scary, folks. It looks like it's just straight down from on high. I eventually hobbled my way to the bottom where I met up with First Son who was quite bored with waiting for me. I high-fived him and he said oh-so-wisely, "You know, thinking about doing it is actually worse than doing it." I think he's right. Hopefully he'll get into trouble more often...