the Stairway To Heaven has always been at the top of my list to complete. but it has been illegal for quite some time due to a storm destroying part of the stairs. they have security guards watching the entrance to the hike and if the cops are called on you, you could be hit with a fine or even arrested. but I was determined to do this. i constantly asked tons of Hawaiian locals about ways around the security guard and how to not get caught. everyone had different answers. one of our Uber drivers said that if you talked to the security guard and were nice to him he would let you go on the hike. a different local said that there's no way we should try to do it because he had one of his friends get arrested for doing it after the security guard warned him not to. but i was still determined to check this off my list. i found this nice map that someone on the internet had created for thrill seekers that were determined to do it. we decided to take path #3 because it seemed like we wouldn't get lost on that one and it didn't go right past the security guard.
so it was set, we were for sure going to do it. we planned on waking up at 4 am to get an early start and to see the sunrise, and maybe the security guard wouldn't be there that early and we wouldn't have to worry about him. but neither of our alarms went off and we ended up waking up at 5:30 am. we got up, called our Uber and went anyways. i felt sick to my stomach the whole way there from excitement. we got out of the car, still pitch black outside. we got to the first fence with barbed wire at the top, with a huge sign that read "government property - no trespassing - violators will be prosecuted" we found a spot that we could get over and hopped the fence. we walked along the path for 5 minutes stepping in huge mud puddles along the way. we found the bamboo forest that we had to walk through and stepped in. there were no paths in there and we felt like we were lost the whole time.
after walking through the bamboo forest for at least 20 minutes we thought we were for sure lost. but there was no way i was not going to find it, i was determined. we keep walking for another 10 minutes and finally find the stairs right in front of us. we look to our right and there is the security guard sitting in his car about a 100 yards away from us. we run out of the bamboo forest, climb some rocks, hop over the railing and start going up the stairs without looking back.
now these stairs are not as easy as you may think. they are almost straight up, its humid as hell in the forest, sweat is literally running down your face the whole time, and it is sheer cliff on both sides of the stairs. i have a pretty big fear of heights too and so the anxiety from that didn't help either. BUT... it is one of the greatest things i have ever done in my life. the view at the top is absolutely incredible. and your adrenaline is pumping the whole time in fear that you might be going to jail for doing this. we even ran into at least a dozen more people also doing the hike, and we all shared our different ways of sneaking past the guard. to top it all off, i got to capture some the the greatest footage i have ever gotten.
after finally making it to the top and chilling up there for a good 30 minutes, it was time to head back down. going down the stairs was about 100x easier and less stressful. i wasn't as worried about falling off the edge to my death for some reason. we are about 80% of the way down and we see 2 security guards in orange vests waiting towards the bottom of the stairs. we were completely screwed. they signal for us to come on down the rest of the way and so we do, only because there was nowhere else to go. we walk up to them and the first security guard says "how was the hike? did you make it to the top?" to which we reply " yeah it was awesome" (still terrified that we are going to jail today and not going to be back in Utah any time soon) they both smile and the second security guard says "well have a good day, we are headed up to work on the trail" HOLY SHIT.. we were in the clear! we continued our way down the rest of the stairs. saw another security guard laying down in the car that we saw when we first started the hike. instead of going through the bamboo forest again and possibly getting lost, we walked right past the guard in the car. we gave him a smile and he smiled back and we were out of there. so after all that preparation to avoid the guards on the way in, hopping fences, getting mud up to our shins, and getting lost in the bamboo forest they didn't even care that we were there. but all that stuff made this day even more memorable and fun. this was by far one of the funnest things i have ever done. it was such an adrenaline rush and i can't wait to do it again someday.