Hawaii’s famous Haiku Stairs, or Stairway to Heaven as sometimes is called, is likely to be removed next year.
The stairs, whose 3922 steps wind through an almost 900m mountain trail on the eastern side of Oahu, were originally built by the US Navy in the 1940s and reach a dramatic and astonishing apex through the clouds.
It’s a lot of years that this trail is illegal but people, anyway, hike it every day.
So, for the council member Esther Kiaʻāina, due to rampant illegal trespassing, Haiku Stairs is a significant liability and expense for the city and impacts the quality of life for nearby residents.
This is why the Honolulu council decided to allocate 1 million dollars to remove the Stairs.
But is it truly so dangerous? We asked Luca Oliveri, who knows those Stairs very well, his opinion.
“When the first time I was in front of the gate that leads to the Stairs I felt overwhelmed. The gate was unexpectedly closed. Bolts and padlocks. Peremptory prohibition messages: ‘Private property. Government property. Don’t cross. Violators will be punished according to the law.’ I didn’t know the real reason for the prohibitions. I only knew that it was impossible to go through that gate. Nobody could go any further! Someone ignored the prohibitions and went on anyway. Someone else desisted. That day the sky was clear and the light fantastic.
I quickly realized that the Haiku Stairs would become my obsession and that it would not be just a trail but that along with it I would find much more.
When you go, you are respectful and full of peace, completely immersed in the experience. The hike confuses the senses and opens the spirit. We rise from civilization to magic. At the top you can calmly reflect, letting all this become part of the memories before civilization erases the traces of this lived magic and makes you plunge back into the harsh reality. People think they go there for the epic view but, along the way, they recognize themselves reflected into Nature. They share a majestic energetic imprint with the Earth and appreciate it through their soul. They discover that they have climbed a mountain to discover themselves in a new light and the new dawn becomes the best part of their day. They always say ‘I didn’t think it was so beautiful, sometimes smiling, other times in tears. You can lose yourself in it.
So I don’t truly know why someone wants to remove the Stairs and all that Beauty. Probably they have never climbed the Stairs and never felt the Magic you can live along the trail.
After all, the Stairs are not dangerous at all, yes, of course, there are some shaky steps, but with a little attention, you can easily overcome them. The handrail helps you along the way and there is not a point where you are too exposed or in danger.
I would like my words to be, somehow, a testimony to those who can still decide to change the fate of the Haiku Stairs and make them understand how precious and magical those Stairs are and that, remove them, would be an immense loss and a huge mistake.”