Trespassing to Dead Man’s Catwalk (in Photos)

In a dive bar in Waikiki, a surfer with waist-length dreadlocks struck up a conversation. Interested to get the local perspective, I asked him about his favourite view in Oahu.

He told me that in one of the richest suburbs, there’s a jawdropping hike. You climb a mountain and at the summit is a concrete ‘catwalk’ of sorts, a footpath stretching barely ten feet before plummeting down the Kamehame Ridge. Panoramic views stretch from the mountain range behind, to the turquoise ocean ahead, and rows of suburbia in-between.

“There’s only one problem”, he said, “it’s illegal”.

I went the next day.

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If, like me, you don’t have a car, catch bus #22 towards Sea Life Park and get off at Maunanani Street.
It’s a fairly typical suburban street. Walk to the top. Ignore the bright red ‘no trespassing’ sign.
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The walk doesn’t take long to get spectacular.

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I accidentally timed it perfectly – the sun was beginning to set, and it had been a moody, stormy kind of day.
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The surfer who told me about Dead Man’s Catwalk warned me not to tell anyone where I learned how to find it, if I was unlucky enough to get caught.

An hour after getting off the bus, I reached reach the top of the hill. A tall hurricane fence and barbed wire blocked my way.

As instructed, I followed the worn grass up and around the left corner of the fence, ducking under tree branches until I found the large hole. And climbed through it.

I felt like I was in a military base. Large satellite dishes and locked sheds, all humming. Apparently this area on the summit of the Kamehame Ridge has something to do with air traffic or radar.

I quickly crossed to the other side of the paved area, towards the ocean.

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Initially, I popped out in the wrong place, seeing Dead Man’s Catwalk from a distance.
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This hurricane fence has been installed to prevent trespassers from reaching Dead Man’s Catwalk. You have to climb around it.
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The most precarious, but probably also most rewarding lookout platform I’ve ever seen.
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Don’t look down.
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If you do look down from the edge… it’s a long way to fall.
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That billion dollar view though. So. Freaking. Worth It.

Walking back from Dead Man’s Catwalk, as the last wisps of sunlight began to disappear, I was so grateful I’d met that surfer.

It made me wonder how many other amazing secret places like this I’ve missed in the past.

I am now more determined than ever to pay attention, befriend locals, listen.

And most of all, to leave my comfort zone behind.

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Trespassing experience: 10/10 would do again.

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