Stairways to heaven

One of my high lights in Hawaii was stairways to heaven. I had a Pinterest picture of it, but I didn’t really know what it was. In Hawaii I found out that it was an illegal hike and I was like: “cool, let’s do that!”. I didn’t really know why it was illegal and I didn’t care to much either.  Locals told us to sneak in am 2AM because there weren’t any security  guards than.

We got up at 1.30 am and drove to this neighborhood. Everything was dark and quite and we were trying to figure out where in the world this hidden staircase was. We had literally had no idea, except these explanations from a blog. Suddenly we heard other people come, and ran behind a tree to hide. We soon realized that it was a group of guys that were looking for the same thing. Just as we met up with them dogs started barking. We ran away but it woke up some other dogs that also started barking. I had heard that the neighbors were actually the worst, because they always called the cops.

Finally we got to this no trespassing sign, but everything was  fenced off, nailed and had barbed wire around it. It took us quite a while to break our way open!
Than we walked in the dark on this no trespassing road, and I was scared because the guys were talking and laughing quite loud. They even had their lights on and I was super worried that someone hear us. At the same time I was so thankful to have them, because I would have been scared to death to just sneak around in the dark all alone with my friend. We also had no Idea where to go so we just followed this group and got to the stairs about 1 hour later.

By the time we got the the stairs it was 3AM, the security lady was there and for sure heard us. We were “hidding behind some bushes and I was thinking: “Damn it’, were stuck, we can’t continue, we have to walk into the woods and hope she won’t hear us, even though she’s probably already heard us” But two guys stood up and were like: “Whatever, she can’t do anything about it. They went up to her and said their chasing the sunrise.
She than said: “I can’t stop you, but if i see you come down, I’ll have to call the police”(which means a huge fine) We all ran out from behind the bush and right to the stairways.

I was pretty tired by than, but this was just the beginning. Some of the guys had lights on them, but we were without. We just held the stairs on both sides and climed it up in the dark. The railing and the stairs were pretty wet from the dew, so we had to look out that we didn’t slipp. We climbed and climbed and startet to get hot. We climbed and climbed and startet to really sweat and get super thirsty. We climbed and climbed and go to parts of the stairs that were broken from a landslide. We were really sweating now and heard a guy say the first platform should come  pretty soon. Than we’d have 1/3 of the way! A THIRD!!! omg I’m dying.

At some point the stairs turned into ladders and I was climbing with hands and feets. By the time we to the first platform we felt like we had just climbed the mount everest. This is not because were just girls, we had mililtary guys with us and they whimpering too (just saying). This was way harder than I expected. We took like a 15min break at the first Plattform and drank almost all of our water. Once we cooled down it started to get chilly so we continued.

I don’t know what happened with me, but somehow I shut out my brain and was just working. I was in this survival mode, where my body was just working and wanted to get it over with as fast as possible. I climbed and climbed in such a speed, I was way ahead of my friend but couldn’t slow down. Once in a while I’d stop, take a break, drink water and see if my friend hasn’t disapread of fallen off. Sometimes you could tell that it was going down pretty steep on both sides, but hardly since it was quite dark. I climbed and I climbed, fully in survival mood, sweating like I had never before and than somehow I got to the next platform! We had around 3/4 of the way and were motivated since we had almost made it to the top.

We arrived  at around 5AM only one hour before Sunrise. We were so damn proud of us that we had made it to the top and at the same time we were thinking, why in the world did we wanna go up? why? What were we thinking? We really had now Idea what we had signed up for and still we made it!!

While waiting for sunrise we started freezing, we had sweat so hard that are cloth were dripping wet. Never in my life in any sport, gym or hike have I ever sweat so badly!
When the Sun stated to rise, it revealed the path that we had taken and that was kind of freaky. We saw that we had just walked up on the rim of the mountain. Left and right it went down pretty steep. I don’t feel like these pictures show that very well. I also started to wonder how they had put these stairs on the mountain and especially how they were attached. This for sure didn’t look very safe and we were also starting to worry about how to pass the security without her calling the police. The problem is also that she can see you on the steps coming down.

Anyway we had to go down, so we stared our journey back. My feet slipped quite a few times from the dew, but luckily I was holding the railing tight enough. Towards the end my legs started to tremble and quiver of over-tiredness. Close to the end we fond a little red rope cutting off from the steps directly into the woods. The security lady has watched us come down, but by cutting into the woods we would come out in a different place. The hill was dirty and slippery and we had to hold tight to the rope to let us down. We could see the security from where we stood and I’m pretty sure she could see us too.

We continued our escape by climbed up the hill on the other side, holding tight to branches and roots. The woods eventuelly turned into a bamboo forest. For a while you’d see which direction the people had taken but eventually if faded out and we were walking somewhere in nowhere. We once wanted to cross the street but just than a police car drove by. “Uff – close one”  We walked around in the bamboo forest for almost an hour. I put on my GPS to see where we were until we came to a river.

We got stung by 1 million mosquitos and our shoes were full of mud and water. Eventually we came out on a privat property of a farmer. They were working in the garden and two tired, totally exhausted and dirty little girls randomly walked trough their garden. He said: “how was Stairways to heaven” and we said: “We were never there” 🙂

We threw our dirty shoes into the pick up, put on our flip flops and drove off to have pancakes for breakfast.


  1. Beautiful pictures

  2. Great story Joy! So funny and well written.