Max Visits the Crater

Wait a minute. Did you just call me a dumpling?
Wait a minute. Did you just call me a dumpling?

Max has been face first in the food dish a bit too much of late.

We’ve started calling him the Dumpling Dog, or “Dumpling” for short.

Occasionally we mix it up and call him Gyoza or Bao, sometimes Empanada or Kreplach and sometimes Maultaschen after the large Schwabian dumplings that absolutely no one recognizes by name.

Anyway, Max the Endomorph needed some attention, a little PX-90 for Maltese, so we took him kicking and screaming for exercise by walking around Diamond Head Crater in the hope it would help generate a canine version of those Brazilian Buns of Steel that we see on late night infomercials.

View of Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach and from overhead showing the crater.
View of Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach and from overhead showing the crater.

As you know, Diamond Head is the most iconic of Oahu images, familiar to most everyone around the world. The volcanic tuff cone is only 767 feet high but occupies a commanding position on the eastern end of Waikiki Beach.

Entry to the trail up to the top.
Entry to the trail up to the top.

To Hawaiians the promontory is known as Lēʻahi, which loosely translates to Mount Tunafish Fin. It was a sacred venue and its surrounding areas were the sites for several heiau, or temples. Papa’ena’ena, one of the most significant, was the site of the sacrifices of both kings and criminals. It was perhaps erected by King Kahekili to celebrate his conquering of O’ahu in 1783.

In 1884, Diamond Head went from private, royal ownership to government property.

Under King Kalakaua, the Diamond Head crater and part of the surrounding lands were transferred from the estate of King Lunalilo to the Hawaiian government.

The reward for puffing up those 99 stairs and the circular staircase.
The reward for puffing up those 99 stairs and the circular staircase.

Diamond Head got its English name from 19th century British sailors who mistook worthless olivine (calcite) crystals on the adjacent beach for diamonds thereby proving that poxy scurvy-ridden sailors should not be your first choice as gemologists.

People who know about these things (often called “smart people”) estimate that Diamond Head is about 200,000 years old. It’s been inactive for 150,000 years suggesting that it is part Maltese. Geologists do not expect the volcano to erupt again which is good news for those of us living nearby.

In 1904 the US Government paid $3,300 for Diamond Head Crater which today would represent about $100,000. This area was developed into Fort Ruger, which was considered to be the eastern end of the defenses of Honolulu and the military bases in the area.

The new and improved trail makes it easy to access the promontory.
The new and improved trail makes it easy to access the promontory.

From 1904 until 1950, Diamond Head was closed to the public at large. During this period of exclusive occupation, significant construction occurred within the crater. Bunkers, communication rooms, storage tunnels and coastal artillery fortifications were built.

World War 2 bunker on top of Diamond Head.
World War 2 bunker on top of Diamond Head.

Battery Harlow on the north slope of the crater and Battery Birkhimer inside the crater were designed to fire to the south over the crater at ships at sea and some of the guns at Diamond Head had a 360 degree field of fire and the range to fire over the Koolau Mountains to the windward side of the island.

In addition to providing protection from sea based attacks, Fort Ruger was to defend Honolulu from ground based assaults from the eastern end of the island which explains the many bunkers and pillboxes along its length.

Some of the old bunkers and defense sites are accessible to visitors although 75% remain off limits due to safety and other concerns.

Today, Diamond Head is a United States Monument. While an FAA air traffic control center was in operation from 1963 to 2001, nowadays there is only a National Guard facility and Hawaii State Civil Defense in the crater.

Entry to the park inside Diamond Head is through one of several tunnels that pierce the wall of the crater rim.

The most popular attraction is the three-quarter mile hike that leads to the edge of the crater’s rim overlooking Honolulu. It’s an easy hike although those who have spent their vacation exercising under a drink with a small umbrella might find some portions to be a puffer.

The toughest slog is up the 99 steps through a tunnel followed by a climb on a narrow spiral staircase. The tunnel is now well lit – until a few years ago you had to bring your own flashlight. Access to the trail to the top is until about 4:30 daily. Sadly, night hikes are not allowed.

Poster art from the Sunshine Festival.
Poster art from the Sunshine Festival. Photo credit to Heritage

My favorite crater memories are from early Seventies when there transpired the Diamond Head Crater Festival, better known as the Sunshine Festivals.

The first was held on Jan. 1, 1970, with an attendance of about 12,000.

It was a celebration of peace, love, Hippiedom, dope, music, more dope and did I mention the dope?

Big Brother and the Holding Company, along with local act Cecilio and Kapono headlined the show which started at sunrise. The morning air had a purple haze if you know what I mean and I think you do. But I digress.

Full house at the Crater. That smoke is suspicious.
Full house at the Crater. That smoke is suspicious.

In later years, Carlos Santana jammed at the Crater, Buddy Miles got his blues on and others like Mackey Feary, War and The Little River Band all showed up to party. Man, do I feel old.

Each year the crowd grew and eventually reached about 75,000 as the event grew more commercial, and in 1979 a state-appointed citizen’s task force asked the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to ban the festivals. Bummer, man. Bunch of fussy old farts that couldn’t even boogaloo.

Less recognized was the 1975 TV program “The Diamond Head Game”. As you will no doubt not remember, the game was set at Diamond Head and the host was Bob Eubanks, star of Dating Game and other socially important programs.

Donald Duck and the Money Volcano. Cultural appropriation at its nadir.
Donald Duck and the Money Volcano. Cultural appropriation at its nadir.

Final contestants were given the great, good opportunity of stepping into a “Money Volcano” to try their hand at catching flying bills of real money in different denominations. Enough to make you want to Bogart that joint.

It was fun to visit Diamond Head although Max did not much care about the history and good times at the Crater. His goal was to stay in the shade and avoid exertion. He seems quite comfortable with the idea of being a Pierogi.

I'm tired, Dad. Can you bring me a stuffed pastry perhaps?
I’m tired, Dad. Can you bring me a stuffed pastry perhaps?

47 thoughts on “Max Visits the Crater

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  1. I give Buddy healthy dog treats and feed him holistic food. He eats better than my husband and myself. Buddy says “Maxwell, you shouldn’t over eat it not good for you.” I enjoyed reading about your wonderful day. In 1978, I went on a two week vacation to Hawaii, and visited all the Islands. I had a great time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Max gets very healthy food. It’s just that he cadges way too much of it and he’s a fluffnugget who is very comfy not exerting himself. Inactivity is the bigger culprit in his recent weight gain, methinks. PS – if you haven’t been here since 1978, it’s time for a repeat visit!


      1. Buddythedog says:
        Healthy food is the way to go. I would love to come back to Hawaii for a visit, but due to the high cost of my medicine that is not covered by our insurance ($2000.00), I will have to think a innovated way to pay for the cost of my ticket. Would you have any suggestions?

        Liked by 1 person

          1. No, I wouldn’t recommend that approach – bad pay and lousy benefit plan. But here’s an idea, Audrey…check out Hawaiian quilts online and perhaps with your expert crochet skills you could re-create the quilt squares as crochet items but using Hawaiian designs. That might be a fun product you could sell online or through the local shops – I know nothing about crochet stuff but could envision a line of crochet “quilts” styles. See here:


            1. Thank you, that might be something to look into. Buddy wants to tell Max that if it wasn’t so humid out side today, he would of gone for a ride in my husband’s 1956 thunderbird convertible.


  2. The festival sounds good…how come I only hear of these things when it is too late to participate…
    And I’d have enjoyed the military remains…Dover castle and its tunnels and batteries are great fun if ever you get the chance to visit.
    Poor Max….do you think his snout in the trough period is a reaction to the nasty surprise when trying to jump in the car – or perhaps a cause…

    That look in his eye is quite something…..and he would be the first to tell you that buns of steel do not figure in the Kennel Club description of his breed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hawaii, especially Oahu, is probably the densest place in the USA in terms of defense construction sites, bunkers and such. The island was littered with all sorts of sites that are still being discovered out in the middle of cane fields and up in the mountains. The military continues to have a major presence here both economically and socially.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Another dog known for being in good shape checks in. Of course, “round” is a shape, right, Genis? I think you and Max would enjoy each other’s company, sitting in a cool spot and musing about what drives Border Collies to be so active anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Dear Max: Haven’t heard from you lately, and I wanted to wish you a Happy New Years and hope you are doing well.  You are always in my doggie thoughts.


      From: WITHIN THE K STREETS To: Sent: Sunday, June 14, 2015 6:12 AM Subject: [New comment] Max Visits the Crater #yiv8817921806 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv8817921806 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv8817921806 a.yiv8817921806primaryactionlink:link, #yiv8817921806 a.yiv8817921806primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv8817921806 a.yiv8817921806primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv8817921806 a.yiv8817921806primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv8817921806 Genis LeyNel commented: “That is a lot of walking, but the views are magnificent! ” | |


  3. Bob Eubanks, potheads, the Little River Band: what else could I ask for in a post? I hope that new and improved trail has snack stands every 100 ft. I would get dehydrated and need Gatorade.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just add a Price is Right element for tee shirts….”Kerbey from Austin, come on down!!!” Oh, btw, here are beverages sold at the entrance to the trail by shady characters with coolers but no business licenses.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Buddythemaltesedog, says to Genis I thought your comment was great! The real truth is we just so much love to give we need to eat so we can keep up are energy, so their is always enough to go around, Buddy says have a wonderful day!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Buddy thinks it is so sad that we all live so far a part from each other, because it would be so nice to have a doggy get together party ever once an a while.


    1. So glad to have you back, Joanne! Prowl about these pages and maybe you’ll spot a possible new adventure worth pursuing. Or send me a note about the kind of place you’d like to visit and I’ll drag up some off the beaten path possibilities.


  6. For the record, I don’t think Max is fat…he’s just…shall we say, ‘fluffy.’ 🙂 Love the historical and musical trip down memory lane. You’d be hard pressed to find better musicians than Big Brother, Buddy Miles, Santana, eek…I’m dating myself too, aren’t I? Those were the days though, weren’t they? Peace, Love, and a bit of Purple Haze. Ahhhh, music from the 70’s. 🙂 We still have the purple haze in Colorado and hate and war rule the highways as everyone is in such a huge hurry to get to their next social gig. Can’t wait for them to create an app that simply teleports them. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. He was just a ball of hair when we got him, it seemed so appropriate 😉
        Though, when we call him “Chewy” only Star Wars fans “get it”, the rest of the population thinks it’s because he chews stuff (which he does) and we aren’t very good at proper names. We might as well have called him “Fluffy” :/
        Anyway, at least the people in the know “get” what it’s about.
        “Snow Wookie” may have been better in the long run, ha ha!


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