|Diamond Head overlooking Waikiki|
I turned 65 November 2017. It was not a joyous thought. Turning 65 bothered me very much. I started thinking about it and dreading it November 2016 when I turned 64. Birthdays had not bothered me in many years. The last birthday that I dreaded was my 30th. I honestly thought I was getting old and was over the hill. Thirty seemed so ancient. After that birthday I was fine. Turning 34 was easy. Turning 40 never bothered. But turning 65 was a jagged little pill to swallow.
My daughters wanted to do something special for my birthday. But I told them I did not want to do anything. I was not wanting to celebrate this birthday. I just wanted the day to pass and get it over with. No thoughts, no party hats, just a quiet day to not thing about the dreaded 65. Then my husband Mark asked me "What can we do to celebrate your birthday?" I told him the same thing. I did not want to do anything. Maybe sit at home, turn on Turner Classic Movies and have a bottle, not glass, of wine. But Mark knows my heart. He knows my love of travel. He said to me let's go somewhere. Name the place and I will make it happen. We talked about Italy as a possibility and a few other places. And then Mark said "What about Hawaii." And my eyes lit up! There is no place either of us have enjoyed more than Hawaii.
|Ashton Waikiki Circle Hotel|
So in mid November we found ourselves at the Ashton Waikiki Circle Hotel right on the beach in Waikiki. We saw the hotel on our two previous trips to Waikiki and it had always caught our interest. It's one of the older hotels on the strip but it's a fun hotel. The round shape of the hotel gives the rooms an interesting shape and also great views from any angle. Although our room was in the back we could still see the beach from an angle on our deck. It was an affordable and interesting choice.
|Shaka brah - cruising in our rented convertible|
We rented a convertible car and with the top down we enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air driving around the island. And not once did I think about the dreaded birthday. We drove up into the mountains, explored historic graveyards, and explored secluded beaches.
We spent our evenings dining and drinking local Hawaiian brewed beers.
I even got to give the one fingered salute to a certain politician who shall remain nameless on this blog.
|Where Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster embraced in waves in the movie From Here To Eternity|
Two days before my birthday we explored the beaches on the north shore of Hawaii. It's the winter season when the waves are tall so it was great fun to watch the big waves at Waimea and the other beaches. We got to see the famous beach where Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster embraced in the surf. I even got to take this 65 year old body for a nude dip on one of the north shore beaches. You can thank me later for not posting photos.
My plan was to climb Diamond Head on my birthday. I thought it would be the perfect way to celebrate. I had climbed Diamond Head three years earlier and knew it was a good hike. So I did not want to wear myself out the day before and not be able to enjoy the hike on my birthday. While we at the Maui Brewery Company, one of our favorite bars in Waikiki, the bar tender told us about Manoa Falls. He said it was between Waikiki and Honolulu and had an easy trail and was very worth seeing. Manoa Falls is located in Manoa Valley in the rain forest between Honolulu and Waikiki. The falls is 150 feet high and empties into a small pool of water. Since the area around the waterfall is considered a rain forest it is prone to heavy rainfall often raining daily. We were told it was a beginner trail so we should not have problem. So we decided why not? We wanted to see the falls and it sounded like an easy hike. So it should not interfere with out plans to hike Diamond Head the following day,
|Manoa Falls - Oahu|
The falls were beautiful. And yes it does rain in that area every day. And no the trail was not a beginners trail! The first half of the hike was not difficult. The trail was paved and wide for the most part. But the second half was another story. The trail narrowed and the tropical plants grew taller and thicker. We ended up climbing wet slippery rock formations and sliding in muddy trails. It was quite a journey. It was a lot more than I had expected. But it also was not an advanced or dangerous trail. We were tired the next day, but we both agreed the climb up Diamond Head would happen.
|Mark and I on the trail to Manoa Falls|
The next day was the big day. And also it was our final day on Oahu. So no matter how tired we were from our many days of walking and swimming this the day we had to climb Diamond Head.
|Field below Diamond Head as we begin our hike|
|Mark on the trail to the top of Diamond Head|
It's an easy climb but with heat and humidity on Oahu it is a bit tiresome. There are wonderful views as you climb the base of the mountain. When you get near the top there are steps you have to climb a set of steps so it best to know this in advance. There are 74 four steps that lead to a tunnel.
|I survived the 74 steps and then made it through the tunnel|
After leaving the tunnel you still are not at the peak of Diamond Head. Once you leave the tunnel you see another set of steps. 99 steps this time. You can hear the sighs and the voices saying "Oh no" as you leave the tunnel. But it's really not that bad.
|The final 99 steps to reach the top of Diamond Head|
|Mark on top of Diamond Head with the volcano caldera behind him|
And we made it. We climbed the trail, steps, and walked through the tunnel. I turned 65 and I climbed Diamond Head. And it was worth it. I spent the dreaded day not thinking about the age, not dreading the moment. I realized once more, just as I did turning 30, that age does not define you. It would have been a lot easier at 30 than at 65 to climb Diamond Head. But it would not have been a major accomplishment at 30. And I would have not appreciated the experience as much. We are going back to Hawaii again this coming November. I do not know if we will climb Diamond Head again or not. I may just save that for turning 70.
|Happy to be 65 on the top of Diamond Head|
(Thank you Mark for making all of this happen. You will never really understand how much I appreciated this.)