Whenever I find myself driving on the H3, I always look towards the Ko'olau mountains for a set of stairs leading up the steep cliff side.  This is the Haiku Stairs or better known as "Stairway to Heaven."  At 3,992 steps to the top (about 4x the amount of Koko Head) this is one of the most thrilling yet daring hikes on Oahu, and not only because of the steep elevation.  The hike was closed down to the public in 1987 due to liability concerns and neighborhood complaints (since the entrance is literally right across from people's backyards).  However, hikers have continued to sneak on the trail despite there being a guard and the risk of being cited.

My friends and I finally decided that we were ready to do this hike on the Fourth of July.  After thorough research about what time the guard was going to be there, we finally settled on starting the trail at around 2:00 am.  I felt like such a rebel sneaking around in the night time although we weren't very good at being stealthy, as Shane and I got the case of giggles as we sneaked by the sleepy houses.  It was a bit daunting trying to navigate in the dark, but we ran into other hikers along the way which was comforting.  As for the hike itself, the climb to the first platform (there are 4 in total) was the steepest and biggest cardio burn.  But after that, it was all smooth sailing.  I'm glad I didn't get vertigo, because there were some instances were it seems like you are climbing a straight ladder up the mountain.  When we finally got to the top we had to wait two more miserable cold hours for sunrise which we ended up not even seeing because it was too cloudy.  However, the hike back down was ahhhmazing.  Once we got under the clouds we could see all of Kaneohe illuminated by the morning light.  Maybe I was delirious because I was running on no sleep, but it all felt surreal and dreamlike to be standing on the Ko'olau mountains at dawn watching the cars drive by on the H3 below.  It was such a unique perspective.  Best illegal hike ever!