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The popular hiking trail, also called Puu Mai Trail, runs along an old tram line on Koko Crater in East Oahu. It is closed for maintenance beginning at 5 am Monday (May 2, 2011), reopening Friday. During the closure, a 2,000 foot long steel wire cable will be removed. It currently runs the length of the tram’s track but is deteriorating and city officials say it is being removed as a “preventative safety measure.”
The photo above is the view from the top of Koko Head looking toward Hawaii Kai and Hanauma Bay. It was taken by Bruce Fisher, who recently hiked to the top, along about a thousand “steps.” The steps are rail ties in the track, which was built during the second World War for a tram that carried people and supplies to a lookout post. The hike is challenging. It begins with an incline, then a bridge where the rail ties and rails are suspended well above the ground, and finishes with a steep ascent that looks nearly vertical. My view of the hike comes from the video Bruce shot, I have no intention of seeing it first hand.
The elevation at the summit is 1,208 feet — not extremely high and not a long climb in distance. However, hikers who experience difficulty are brought down by emergency crews often enough that there is occasional talk of closing the trail completely. It may be that the maintenance work is a sign the that controversy has died down for the moment. This is a hike/climb that is popular with locals, perhaps more so than with visitors, so the attempt to close it was met with much resistance.