Haiku Stairs

Stairway to Heaven – the most magical place on Earth

Stairway to Heaven

CHAPTER 1 – OCTOBER 2017

We arrived in front of the main gate.

Closed! Bolts and padlocks. Peremptory prohibition messages: ‘Private property. Government property. Don’t cross. Violators will be punished according to the law.’

Disappointed, we couldn’t understand.

Stairway to Heaven

CHAPTER 2

A gentleman in his seventies was watching us from afar. He parked slowly as if he wanted to slow down the time. He got out and approached with a stentorian step disguising his previous, apparent, clumsiness. He asked us what we were doing there.

The story of the Haiku Stairs began at that moment.

He didn’t know the real reason for the prohibitions. He only knew that it’s impossible to go through that gate. Nobody could go any further! Someone ignored the prohibitions and went on anyway. Someone else desisted. He couldn’t tell us if there was another way to overcome the ban. It was vague but, in our opinion, he knew it.

We walked back to the gate.

‘What do we do?’ The temptation was strong. After all, it’s only a trek. Why not to get past the gate? Someone does it. ‘

The temptation was strong, the temptation was very strong.

It was three o’clock in the afternoon and, all in all, we were still on time.

If it had taken two hours to reach the summit, we would have been at the top for sunset. The sky was clear and the light fantastic. No clouds in the Sky.

The sunset was surely beautiful up there.

Stairway to Heaven

CHAPTER 3

Sometimes, a myth born by chance, without having looked for it.

That first time, we went back to the hotel in silence, dazed. What was previously a stage of the journey, a tourist attraction, had now suddenly become the meaning of the whole journey.

The Haiku Stairs was the archetype of existence. Perhaps, in the world, there were other places that meant the same thing, the archetype of existence, to other people.

Haiku Stairs with Matt Kievlan

CHAPTER 4 – MAY 2018

“When I go, I am respectful and full of peace, completely immersed in the experience, perhaps because you are in it for 3922 times. The activity confuses the senses and opens the spirit. We rise from civilization to magic. At the top you can savor hot food and you can calmly reflect, letting all this become part of the memories before civilization erases the traces of this lived magic and makes us 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. Every time I walk along it I lose myself in him “

We thought these words were perfect.

Matt Kievlan

We met Matt one morning in early May. At that moment we didn’t know anything about him, but his words about Haiku Stairs, recorded in a travel blog, reflected our most intimate feelings. His description was vivid and full of color and sounds.

Again, a shock seemed to paralyze our bodies. There was someone in the world who had managed to climb the stairs.

We wrote him and, a few days later, we were friends. Being able to share our emotions made everything more real. Haiku really existed and Matt knew it well. It would help us make our dream come true.

Haiku Stairs by Luca Oliveri

CHAPTER 5 – AUGUST 2018

We skirt the road, ready to flee into the woods if Matt would have told us to do. Then, as we begin to climb up, Matt tells us to go into the forest and go up from there.

The ground is wet and slippery, we help ourselves with the bamboo and with the roots of the damp and viscous plants. Above us, the cars whiz by on the H3.

A few moments later we go around the fence.

Nature has ingenious methods for finding our weak spots when it forces us to live in the center of our magical Universe.

Suddenly it is as if we were naked and with the heart of a child walking the path of our life. We are happy.

The climb begins on the first of the 3922 steps that we will not count.

Matt understood that we feel what he himself has tried for more than two hundred and eighty times, so many times he has climbed. And he knows that we can no longer live without the stairs, like him.

Radio station on Haiku Stairs

CHAPTER 6

Shortly after, going up, we have emerged from the impalpable haze of the clouds and now we can see everything around us. It’s like getting rid of a burden and the show, even from here, is magnificent. Fatigue gives way to vigor.

At times the sky is leaden, at times is blue disappearing into the sea. You can hear the cackles of some birds and the Amakihi of Hawaii, and then nothing else except of us gasping with increasing fatigue when, again, the mountain rests.

When we are about to reach the top, we slow down. A few more meters and we will see the radio station which, in a few minutes, was shrouded in clouds, perhaps to move us away one last time, perhaps as a last, extreme attempt for protection.

We are close. We slow down again, in our hearts we would not want our climb to end so quickly. Without realizing it, the legs tremble, for the pain and for the fear of finding out what awaits us up there, the eyes turn and, closing, sigh. The neck’s muscles, tense, screech like ropes when the wind hits them. The chest also contracts just after inhaling, exhaling with the restlessness of repeated frictions the breathlessness loaded with fatigue. The light is now palpable and at times, however, rarefied.

Four hours are too few and at the same time interminable to finish everything.

We are on the verge of unreasonableness, so high up.

Radio Station on Stairway to Heaven

CHAPTER 7

We are at the horizontal walkway that precedes the radio station, here the iron boards are well positioned and well preserved by the nature of the mountain that has made them his own, as a part of himself that it can no longer do without. Here, we feel the strong call of God, free from everything. We see neither Kaneohe nor the horizon. We perceive with our senses every truth that surrounds us. The gods of Hawaii are everywhere.

Mana, the vital energy.

The stairs no longer belong to man, but, now, they are the mountain’s son.

For a moment, the Haiku Stairs is there only for us. Now, I understand why 300 days ago, in October, we went back to the hotel and desperately threw the backpack on the carpet. I understand everything now, and my eyesight is sharper than ever. Now, memories can finally merge and find peace. I will never be able to go home, ever again.

Mana, the life energy is everywhere and makes the heart explode with joy.

Hardergrat Trail – an epic hike

It’s a mental journey, it should be on your bucket list

It’s not just a trail. It’s a thrilling journey where you will have mental ups and downs, especially when you see all that stretches out ahead of you. It looks impossible, but it’s not, it’s just very, very long. There, at the first stop on the ridge, I rested with that extreme view over the mirror lake. Amazing.

The trail starts quickly to be narrow and scary and the fatigue rises. It’s only at the end, when it’s over, that you will feel the best sensations of freedom and immensity. This is something that will stay with you forever.

Hardergrat Trail

The HARDERGRAT trail is mostly on a sharply ridge

It’s 25km long, about 18km are spent on a sharply outlined grassy ridge, with prominent drops on both sides. It’s not for those afraid of exposure, and should never be attempted when wet.

The route is not an official trail, but the path stays on the ridge the entire length. However, the steepest section is unprotected and is a downclimb if you are going west to east.

Don’t underestimate this route! An early start is required from Interlaken to make the Brienzer Rothorn’s last train down to Brienz.

The trail is very long and people can take up to 10 or more hours to finish.

Take enough water with you. There isn’t any on the ridge from the Harderkulm station to the Brienzer Rothorn and during summer time it could be scorching when you are hiking the steepest part of the trail.

Hardergrat Trail

At first I attempted the Hardergrat Trail as a traning for the MoanaLua trail on Oahu

Do you want to know the story that stays behind my personal experience on the Hardergrat trail? Let’s go on reading…

In 2017 I was in Hawaii for the Honeymoon. In those mountains, I found one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. I was not ready to attempt it but it became an obsession! I promised myself that I would have hiked the Moanalua when I would have been prepared for it. So I came back and started studying for any hike that looked similar to the Moanalua and found the Hardergrat trail. I couldn’t wait to attempt it. I was so excited. I planned my three days trip to Interlaken almost one year later. It was July 2018 when I hiked the Hardergrat the first time. I started at 4:30 am to hike the first section from Interlaken to the Harder Kulm. I started the real trail at 7:30 from the Harder Kulm station to the Augstmatthorn and ended it at 8 pm when I throw the backpack on my room’s moquette so enthusiast for my effort and leave me to rest on the sofa, notably tired but very happy. It has been a weird experience. I did it again in 2019. It so magical up there when the wind blows, hitting your face and moving your hair in that immense place full of freedom.