The Stairway to Heaven

If you had a chance to get to heaven... Would you?  If the answer is yes, how much effort would you put in to get there?
Well it turns out if you want a crack at a sneak peak into Heaven, the first thing you need to do is book a flight to Hawaii.
"...book a flight to Hawaii."
Whether you're on your way from across the world, taking a break from the mainland or just swinging over from a different island, this is one hike you'll never forget.  For this once in a lifetime hike you need to be on the popular island of Oahu.
"...the popular island of Oahu."
I was going to be traveling through Asia for 4 months, kicking the first month off on the Islands of Hawaii.  An absolutely amazing pit stop on the way across the vast Pacific Ocean from my home base in Los Angeles, CA, USA to Seoul, South Korea.  A warm up that turned into a highlight reel from an entirely different league of travel adventures. Naturally I became very excited!
"...Hawaii Ruins Travel..."
In some ways, Hawaii ruins travel for you because there are few places in the world that can compete with its natural beauty, wonderous variety and pure sense of mystical Adventure.  While I've had outstanding experiences on the other Islands of Maui , Kauai and Hawai'i (The Big Island), I kicked off this specific long journey to Asia ou of LAX flying into HNL in Oahu.  Thanks to the epic Stairway to Heaven, I would soon hold a new level of respect for an island where some tourists grow aggravated quickly by the over civilized Honolulu and selfie prone zone Waikiki Beach.
"...the over civilized Honolulu and Selfie Prone Zone of Waikiki Beach."
Most people just call it a done deal vacation on that side of the island, while others travel further to the North Shore of Oahu.  However, only a select few choose to go deeper into the heart of this Island in search of something more than what just meets the eye.
"...only a select few choose to go deeper into the heart of this Island in search of something more..."
The Stairway to Heaven, is officially known as the Haiku Stairs or Haiku Ladder, rigthfully so.  Leaving one to question how did these Haiku Stairs earn their heavenly nickname?  I have seen for myself why, therefore I feel it's absolutely necessary I share this wonderful story since this is nothing short of a massively memorable hike.  Nothing short indeed, as this is a climb up to a peak of the summit of Puʻukeahiakahoe the destination of the stairs among of the Ko'olau mountain range.  Just shy of 4,000 STEEP steps up a jungle mountain to the top peak of Oahu Hawaii.  Actually, 3922 steps to be exact... but I didn't spend my entire time hiking counting each step, believe it or not.  This information is found consistent all over the internet.  (Whether this amount of steps include the section that is currently damaged is unknown at this time.)  While going up at moments I felt mid climb that this famous Staircase was endless.  Not to mention a "Step" is a very misleading use of vocabulary, as I felt at least a third of this hike was an actual ladder.  Something told me this was going to be a truly once in a lifetime experience and after my first week of exploring all over Oahu, I figured this was the way to properly say good bye, for my last night on the Island before hopping over to Maui.
"...A Truly Once in a Lifetime Experience..."
It all started as just an idea, no different than the next Nomadic minded traveling thrill seeker going on the internet to find some basic information to prepare for the big Adventure ahead.  I began researching online just like this and a couple of YouTube videos, Instagram photos and written blogs (like this one) later, I felt ready for the next "Step."  However, I was traveling solo this entire time and was really hoping to have a hiking buddy come with me for the journey.  Never a great idea to do any of these types of physical journeys alone, but a worse idea to shy away from doing it all because you have no buddy with you.  I figured I'd try to find a friend from a hostel, during a tour or by any other means necessary.  Only problem with speaking about this hike in public is, it seems the Islanders are split 50/50 on how they feel about you hiking up the Stairway to Heaven.  Not only is it completely dangerous and absolutely federally illegal but it's also just plain confusing to even navigate your way to the starting point of the stairs.  Due to these factors, many locals or travelrs you speak to about it are either worried about you trespassing on private property, getting caught by the police or worse, getting yourself killed.
"...The Friends of Haiku Stairs..."
On a more political level, there are organizations like the Bureau of Water Supply (BWS) who partially own some of the land and they wish for the stairs to be completely removed and destroyed.  Then there are also organizations like "The Friends of Haiku Stairs" who are fighting to keep the stairs and one day make them safe and legal again for all to enjoy.  Now you can understand why asking any random person to come hike with you, may or may not give you an unwanted response.  Still I was in search of a fun friend to join me and staying at my hostel on the north shore, I was sure I would be lucky enough to find someone who would be down for the Adventure.
"...My Hostel on the North Shore..."
I asked around both to travelers and locals getting ugly faces of disgust saying "Why would you want to get fined and arrested?", "It's probably a better idea you just skip out on that one.", "That's private land, leave those people in the Haiku Village alone, don't do the hike."  Of course, there were those that said otherwise (The Hikers Who Actually Did It) such as "The most beautiful sunrise you'll ever see!"  "I was so happy we hiked to the top, it was everything we hoped for and more!" or my personal favorite, the local Islander who owned a burger joint on the North Shore who said "If you don't climb The Stairway to Heaven, you'll never do Oahu justice... If you don't do it, you never truly saw the Island. Do It by any means." That was all I needed to hear, I was convinced I'd go whether I had a partner or not.
"...If you don't do it, you never truly saw the Island. Do It by any means."
Luckily as I was preparing my gear for the night ahead, I overheard someone else at the Hostel mention "The Stairs" and I eagerly rushed over to him to help finish the controversial conversation.  Here is when I meet Jean Carlo, a semi pro golfer here in Hawaii visiting from Canada.  Never would I have thought this beer bellied Canadian golfer would be interested in this type of a hike, but as soon we began talking about it, I knew he would be the guy.  After we agreed to start preparing our clothing, gear and nutrients to finish this daunting task, we were off to catch the last night bus leaving the North Shore.  While Jean Carlo was waiting at the local bus stop near our hostel, I stocked up on water from the grocery store only to bust out the front door running full speed to my new found friend Jean Carlo battling with the closing doors of the bus to give me the extra 20 seconds I needed to catch this last final bus.  This was the only practical means of transporation to get us to the "starting" point.  Pants falling down and all, soon as we both busted onto the bus the driver and everyone else laughed at how silly we looked acting like this.  However, little did they know this was my last night on the island and my last shot at a bus in a Non Uber, Lyft or Taxi zone to get us to a point that would take an additional 9 hours of walking to before even beginning the stairs.  We absolutely could not afford to miss the bus and luckily we didn't.
"...the last night bus leaving the North Shore."
This hike was our secret so moving forward the rest of the night we agreed to not tell anyone that we were headed to the top of the most controversial hike on the island, the Stairway to Heaven.  I knew my blessings were being counted with meeting Jean Carlo and not missing the last bus, so I was feeling very excited for the heavenly sunrise that I so desperately wanted to see from the very top.
"...the heavenly sunrise that I so desperately wanted to see from the very top."
There were some other historical basics I had learned about the Haiku Stairs, like its construction and usage by the US Navy in WWII.  Their plan was to establish a new top secret Naval radio station at the very top of the peak, to enhance the long range transmission abilities of the radar dish to communicate with the rest of the fleet in the battle for the pacific.  Constructed in the year 1942, the stairs were originally a wooden ladder design, then wooden steps (which you can still sometimes notice) before upgrading them in the mid 1950's to the current metal staircase you see today.  When the initial installation was completed, they also established a cable car system (which you can also still see the steel cable at times) to easily bring Navy personnel and construction resources up and down the mountain.  Before that point the Navy Men had to do it all by hand and foot first.
"...Constructed in the year 1942..."
Counting 3,922 steps in total, with each section of metal stairs counting for 10, complete with (very useful) handrails.  After constant beat down on the stairs thanks to the natural disregard by Mother Nature for human innovation, the staircase was permanently closed in the year of 1987 (My Birth Year... hmmmm... interesting.)  Of course, for years, adventurous hikers like myself and Jean Carlo and many others still pushed forward despite the "No Trespassing" signs.  In 2003, the stairs received an awesome face lift costing the city almost a million US dollars, at little over $875,000.  Too bad that renovation did not settle the land use disputes that are still in play and the massive storm that came and hit the mountain on Valentine's day of 2015.  A big Hawaiian Mudslide took out a large chunk of the staircase closer to the start of the climb, before the first of 3, what I call "platforms."  Considering I was traveling in Hawaii March, of 2016... I would not be able to experience the lovely benefits of the city's costly attempt to renew the stairs.  The stairs I would soon know first hand, were anything but trustworthy to keep you comfortable on your way to the top.
"...big Hawaiian Mudslide took out a large chunk of the staircase..."
We talked battle plans on a nice long evening bus ride along the 83 Kamehameha Hwy costing us the fee of ($2.75.) Our bus (55) got to the Windward Mall station, in about an hour and a half from the Foodland Pupukea we started at from the North.  The Windward Mall Station was the one we needed (four our specific route from the North Shore at night) to be placed closest to the start of our Haiku hike.
From here we walked the remaining city streets, mainly heading East down Kahuhipa St, to get to the Kaneohe District Park, which lies at the foot of the mountain.  After taking a quick break from our bus ride and 2 mile (35 minute) walk from the Windward Mall, we just sat there looking up at the beast of a mountain.  The night sky was very cloudy and mystical. Specifically noticeable, was a dragon shaped cloud resting over the top of the black silhouette of a Mountain.  Was that the spirit of Haiku I wondered?  Are we REALLY going to be climbing this?" I asked myself in my head and eventually confirmed with Jean Carlo that he was still willing to do this. Now here is the logic as to why you want to begin the hike between the hours of 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.  Not only do you want to be starting this hike under cover of darkness to avoid any Islanders that will call you out if they see you, but you also have to get past a Security Guard who's main job is to wait right at the bottom of the stairs for hikers like us.  Whether it will be a male or female, big or small person, it will most likely only be ONE security guard.  In regards to the security guard, hiking at this time of day offers you 2-3 extra possibilities that certainly won't happen for you during the day light hours or even possibly for a normal evening hour.  Hopefully the Security Guard will be off wandering somewhere else, not present due to a shift change or fast asleep due to the boring nature of standing watch at weird hours of the night.  We chose to start at 3:00 a.m. The most important reason however, is to time it so that once your done the sunrise arrives.  The sun would be rising around 6:45 a.m. for Oahu at this time of year, so this gave us at least 3 and a half hours to get there before it would be too late.  3:00 a.m. start was perfect!
Now we begin.  Leaving from the park nearby, we made our way into the housing area of the Haiku Village.  The locals here for the most part are tired of people walking through their neighborhood un announced, tired of the extra cars that people park on the streets and overall just wish they didn't have to deal with any Trespassers.  We tried to sneak our way in without being noticed by anyone who was walking around or heard by anyone inside their homes.  Making noise was certainly a concern, but also navigating in the dark was tricky, since using flash lights was absolutely out of the question.  During the walk through the village a couple of walkers passed by (as we hid behind cars), and some rambunxious dogs that began to bark as we sneaked past a house.  Then we saw them, a pickup truck full of 6 people and the people sitting in the back looked like they were on a search for someone or something.  We avoided them at all costs, and kept making our way down Kahuhipa St headed towards the end, then walked onto Kuneki St. to finally where it crosses with Makena St.  I'm sure there are many different variants to getting to the starting point of the stairs, but this is just the way we did it.  Once we got to this dead end, where the streets of Makena and Kuneki met, we found the first of 3 major gates!  Read the KAPU - KEEP OUT sign well, and make sure you are okay with what you are about to embark upon, as it clearly states this is private property.  Which by the way I learned that any sign in Hawaii stating, Danger - Keep Out, is usually code word for something amazing just ahead.  I knew this first barricade wouldn't stop us mentally.  However, physically we wouldn't be able to slip in between the locked fence, and climbing over it with the barb wire on top would certainly be a stupid idea.  Then we saw them... the group of people from before who were in the truck, now approaching us from another street.  We were so nervous who these people might be, what if they were local villagers who agreed to do a night watch for the sake of the community?  They walked right to the entry point and soon we learned they in fact were not Haiku Villagers, but were hikers as well!  They had a similar plan like we had to start at this time of day at 3:00 a.m.  The best news ever was that one of the members in the group was a local and he had done the stairs once before, this was a game changer!  I am telling you right now... for what was to come next, if we didn't have this help, we would have been lost for hours.
"...Read the KAPU - KEEP OUT sign..."
Our new leader guided us to the right of the fence up a little hill into the jungle.  This was usefull as we learned the fence could not stretch out forever, there was a way around it on the right side.  All flashlights were turned off and remained off for most of this hike.  A Headlamp is really what you will need on standby, and the ONLY light that was recommended if absolutely necessary was the RED light and for no longer than 10 seconds at a time.
The goal was to make it to the stairs using as much Stealth as humanly possible, maybe getting past the Villagers was easy, but the Security Guard would certainly produce a different challenge.  For that I wondered if our group of 7 was now too big.. maybe we would draw too much attention to ourselves, but so far so good.  Under the cover of darkness, with a good leader, we began working our way through a very dence Bamboo forest in between the starting fence by the streets and the next barricade.  From here on out, I wish I could confidently tell you were to go to find the stairs... but I can't.  We were in the complete darkness, just trying to follow the leader, heading in the general direction of the beginning of the Hill.  There were maintenance roads that had facility lights on, we tried to avoid staying on that road as it looked like a trap.  The only problem was, now we started to see 4 new flashlights coming from behind us, from the entry fence.  We all were nervous that this was the actual villagers coming to look for us, so we started to book it faster towards the next fence in this dense jungle.  Then we made it to the tallest fence of them all, I didn't measure it exactly but I am 6'2" and it atleast doubled me, so it looked like around 14 Ft tall.  We were trying to figure a way to climb over this fence and found a very usefull tree to climb up and stretch over the fence to get on the other side.  Everyone made it over smoothly... except for me of course.  It was warm at the moment, but I packed a lightweight jacket with me for when we got up top in the higher altitudes.  While trying to make it over this second taller fence, my jacket got snagged on the fence, it ripped and dropped my 200 lb body to the floor setting of a Hawaiian Earthquake on the rictor scale.  Great work... I told my self aggrivated that I probably just gave off everyone's position.  However, everything looked good moving forward along the fence, trying to stay in the shadows as we approached the zone of the security guard.  We had already been through so much physically I thought and we hadn't even started the 4,000 steps yet!  Now that we had crossed this fence, we moved from private property, to State level property.  The leader in the group mentioned, that if the Security Guard up ahead trys to stop you by putting their hands on you, just keep moving and don't stop to talk to them.  Be polite, but don't submit to their will essentially...oh boy... this was weird... what was going to happen next?
   
"...the Security Guard up ahead..."
Well yet again... it seemed the luck for Jean Carlo and I hadn't run out just yet.  One of the 3 possible circumstances came true and it proved starting at 3 a.m. was the way to go!  We literally saw the security guard in their car, sound asleep, perfect!  We moved forward very quietly and then saw the third and final fence warning us that the stairs were closed and moving beyond that point would be considered trespassing on federal government property.  This was a staircase owned by the Navy afterall, so now that we had already tresppassed on private property beyond the first fence, then state property beyond the second fence, I didn't want to dissapoint our federal friends for the main event.  This fence also could be navigated around the side to the right, because the Jungle gets so dence with trees, rocks and mud at times that building a full normal fence to keep hikers away wouled proove to be as useless as the last 2 fences we arleady got past. Just beware of the heavy loads of loose barbed wire EVERYWHERE around this point, we had to pass the wires from one hiker to the next to get by safely.  Once we finally got past this last fence, I began to seriously ask myself... why are they trying THIS HARD to keep us out of here?  What is really going on here?  What would we soon find at the top of this mystical staircase?  Again, why do they call this the Stairway to Heaven and have all these obstacles in the way of us getting there?  No time to think, just start climbing.
"...why are they trying THIS HARD to keep us out of here?"
The first moment I laid eyes on the stairs was at the very least magical.  After all this research, time of preperation and recent challenges getting to this point, it was great to finally see the actual thing in real life.  You know what they say about a journey of a thousand miles... and just like that a journey of 4,000 stairs begins with the first single step.  Immediately making contact with the stairs we noticed a few things, they seldom felt truly sturdy.  Every step would make a creek sound and some would be loose all together, so I didn't know if that very next step would be the one to change my whole day for the worse.  Flashlights still remained off, just in case the Security Guard would wake up in the car, we were still way too close to him.  The stairs had a railing to put both hands on, atleast the sections of the stairs that the hand rail was still there and intact.  In some instances not only was a handrail missing, or a single step was gone, but at a certain point the entrie staircase dissappeared.  Just annihilated by Nature, completely covered in Mud and big trees that had fallen down with the mayhem of the recent mud slide.  Everything was so damn wet and slippery during this part of the climb, I thought if this is how hard it is early on... I could only imagine how it would get closer to the top.
"..moisture and fog began to thicken the higher up we got.."
The moisture and fog began to thicken the higher up we got, already very high up looking down on a freeway overpass, the John A Burns (H3) Freeway to be exact.  Jean Carlo and I would choose to hike around 30 minutes and then take a 5 minute break on the stairs to catch our breath, since there weren't much places to take a good break honestly.  The rest of the group had decided to move faster up ahead of us, as we took our time up this steep climb, clearly not in as good a shape as the other hikers we started with.  No worries though, since we now knew there was only one way to continue, not so hard to get lost anymore when the only direction left is up.  I wished we could use our flash lights already but as soon as we had the idea we noticed the Security Guard had turned on the headlights of the car.  He then stepped out as he saw 2 other hikers between fence 2 and 3, they were using their flashlights and it got them caught!  This was good for us as we always had the fear that the Security Guard would be in the best shape of everyone on the Mountain and if he knew we had passed him, he would just come charging up the staircase to get us off it before we got to high up.  We remained hiking up with our flashlights kept off, untill we finally reached the first platform for a nice solid rest.  This is the first of what I remember being 3 platforms, where other hikers we saw up there taking a break.
"I wished we could use our flash lights..."
At this point, we saw 4 others resting up there and everyone was enjoying the beautiful nigh view of the city lights below us.  However, morale was low in hopes of seeing the sunrise in the morning since the cloud cover was so intense.  A man we met here, said he would not continue the rest of this climb because he was certain we would just be trapped in fog at the top not able to see anything more than what we could see here.  I thought... this can't be it... we've already been through so much... surely we have to get to the top of these Haiku Stairs.  Would the "view" be worth it if we couldn't see it?
"...certain we would just be trapped in fog at the top..."
There was something deep inside me thought that had faith if we kept on pushing, we would be rewarded for our efforts... we would see the sunrise.  I was destined to learn more about the Haiku stairs, again still wondering why was it called the Stairway to Heaven?  All the other stairways in the world and this one snagged that title?  After some hydration, a snack and some rest for the legs, we continued onto the next section.
"...for a Stairway to Heaven this is one HELL of a work out..."
Let me be clear on one thing here, for a Stairway to Heaven this is one HELL of a work out and at times catching a breath on the way up was almost impossible outside of standing on a risky staircase at the edge of a cliff.  The higher we got up, the colder it became and the thinner the air was.  The good news however was we now were so far away from the security guard at the bottom, we took our chances and turned on our headlamps for the remainder of the hike.  Keeping the flashlights off untill the first platform was a wise choice, despite its difficulties that came with being blind at times. I wasn't counting the steps and I kept wondering... how much longer... how many more steps remained?  Each time we got to the next hump or peak of the mountain, there were more stairs that followed there after.  This made me realize one good thing about hiking in the dark compared to attempting this for the first time in pure day light, was we didn't have to worry about looking at all the remaining steps ahead.  Just like life, I could only see about the next 10 steps ahead of us.  We would continue this climb one step at a time, till we got to the second of 3 platforms on the Mountain.  By now it was clear we weren't the only crazy hikers that wanted to see this sunrise, we bumped into around 30 hikers in total during this journey.
Continue Climbing... more steps... more steps... eventually you are looking at the stars wondering what if this is just endless, I became delusional at times.  However, looking at the beautiful stars above in the night sky during moments where the cloud broke, truly would take my breath away (due to the view of course, not because of the brutal work out.)  This was when I asked myself, if this really were to take me to Heaven... wouldn't I give it EVERYTHING I've got to get there?  It's an easy elevator ride down to Hell but a very difficult narrow staircase up to Heaven.  This proved true during this at times, very dangerous and sketchy hike.  Look out for the steps that swing loose, the slippery mud and the cliff that drops down thousands of feet just to either side of you.  The only thing protecting you at times was the old raggedy hand rail.  Not to mention the moments where the hand rail is literally useless because the Stairs have converted from steps to a ladder and you must grab the "steps" above you with your hands to climb up safely.  Yes, this was difficult but it was also very fun and now we were motivated, feeling great about being here and we got a good boost of energy at the thought of being victorious at the top.  Just a little big longer and afterwards there would be a sunrise of epic proportions.  Finally, we had made it to the third and final platform before the summit where the Navy Radar tower was.  Here you can see the old Cable Car Gears.
"It's an easy elevator ride down to Hell but a very difficult narrow staircase up to Heaven."
Beyond this point, everything was completely covered in the clouds and the stairs were at times over run by the jungle plant life surrounding it.  Feeling the wet plants rub along my skin was quite a nice feeling though, I felt the beauty of the island up here.  Some moments there would just be a long metal plank, no stairs, no hand rails and with a deadly drop off the mountain to each side.  Not to mention the fog was so dense that if you made the wrong step in the wrong direction you wouldn't realize before it was too late that it would be your last step ever.  This was a long ways away from the tourist locations everyone speaks of in Honolulu, some hikers had quit out of fear for the danger, few had come this far.  The flashlights could barely see past 10 steps due to the dense cloud cover.  Damnint... would we miss the sun do this?  After all of this hard work, I had to believe it would dissapear by true morning sunrise time.  Then we saw it... the Navy Tower and Radar Dish, finally finishing the last few steps up.  Of course we had to go back down later but for now it was time to rest.  I noticed a large group of hikers sleeping inside of the old run down bunker and said hello to everyone there.  As soon as I stepped into that door way and spoke a girl screamed loud "Oh my God, HE'S HERE, THE SECURITY GUARD!"  I guess me being the body I am with a booming voice and a dark silouette in the night, that was all she needed to be scared of with the potential that the security guard hikes up these stairs every night just to catch us at the top.  We all laughed it off and began our rest as we waited the final 30 minutes before sunrise.  Not bad we said for a start time of 3:00 a.m. at the first gate, it took us about 3 hours and 15 minutes to get from there to here.  Hopefully it would be much easier on the way down.
"...the Navy radar tower..."
Awaiting the Sunrise.. all of the hikers that decide to stay, just patiently waiting for the clouds to break and the sun to show its precious face.  Some grew impatient and lost hope quickly, soon after the expected time of the sunrise, just giving up on their glimpse of heaven and beginning their decent back down to the bottom below the clouds.  I found one other young hiker and we both decided to put all our prayers in it together, then others joined our hands in prayer, we really wanted this.  We came too far to turn back now... we MUST SEE THIS!  With a combination of prayer, patience and a miracle of the Sun... it began.  The creescent moon above the clouds in the changing sky began to be upstaged by a much larger presence.  As the Sun started to burn away the morning dew, we could literraly see the clouds retreating away back into the darkness on the other side of the mountain behind us.  Everyone started screaming with joy and rooting the Sun on to win the battle for first light.  The clouds are breaking, the light is warming up our cold faces, the city below is becomming visible and the Pacific Ocean was now visible.  We stared directly at the Sun, all of us just mezmerized by what we were looking at and now the beauty of the mountain range we were surrounded by.  In this moment I knew we had succeeded victoriously as we could hear orgasmic sounds from all the hikers happiness as the sunrise we had hoped and prayed for finally took over the show!  Everything surrounding us was just absolutely beautiful and we could see so much of the Island from so high up!  The longer we remained up there, the more powerful the sun became and the more the clouds retreated into the distance.  After some great photos, video and chatting it up with the other good sould at the top of the legendary Haiku Stairs, we figured 2 hours enjoying ourselves at the top was enough, since I needed to be on a flight out of Honolulu to Maui by 4:00 p.m.  Jean Carlo agreed it was time for the decent as well.  I hid a small box full of trinkets under a bush, incase I should return one day to see if the time capsule will still be intact.  Soon after we started our walk down the now fully light staircase.
"Everything surrounding us was just absolutely beautiful..."
Finally we could see the full staircase in all it's glory for the fist time, thanks to the Sunlight that was now helping us guide the way.  Winding down and around the Mountain, you realize you just came up from there. That's the thing about starting from the bottom, once you get to the top the only way left to go is back down.  Having the sun out now would help a lot with visually seeing things clearly. Going down in stead of up would give certain muscles a break. This by no means made it safer, in fact going down was VERY Sketchy at times. Caution was key as it was easy to slip and fall all the way down causing a very bad day. Slow and steady we go.
"...Winding down and around the Mountain..."
After enjoying our time up in Heaven we began the descent back down to reality.  Then we saw it... Some type of phenomenon I had never seen before.  Out in the distance to our left on the stairs was a very unique sight.  I stuggled for a while in trying to explain it exactly, but imagine a rainbow that is a tight small circle.  Not your typical upside down "U" shaped rainbow from one side of the ground to another.  This was about 300 yards towards the next mountain and there was a stream of shall we say smoke, cloud or fog directly from my forehead all the way to this point.  I could tell there was a body inside this thing which looked like some type of portal.  That body/shadow figure matched me exactly.  I was waving my hand and it waved back at me.  I asked Jean Carlo if I was going crazy or not and he confirmed I wasn't as he could see the same thing, yet only for HIS body, not mine.  As I continued to play with this distant shadow figure of mine, while swinging both my arms up and down, it showed an effect that looked as if I had Angel Wings.  Maybe we were just on Hawaii looking at what is called by scientists as a Brocken Spectre thanks to combinations of Sunlight, moisture in the air and high elevations.
"...enjoying our time up in Heaven..."
Maybe Jean Carlo and I got a glimpse into an absolutely beautiful place  many of us dream of going some day. Either way, I now know with all my heart why they call it, The Stairway to Heaven.
-Captain Nomad's Log
Matt Muench
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