If you've ever heard of Hawaii's Stairway to Heaven hike, you know two things: 1. It's gorgeous. 2. It's completely illegal.
Despite warnings and hefty potential fines, daredevils have been flocking to the mountainside staircase, also called Haiku Stairs, for years. It's one of the most breathtaking views on all of Oahu, so photos of the hike are frequently shared on social media, drawing locals and tourists alike to the precarious climb.
Now, a new addition to the hike is making quite an impression on Instagram: a makeshift swing that looks like a really bad idea, to be quite honest.
The jerry-rigged contraption, constructed with metal chains, is affixed to two rusted poles atop a ridge in the lush Koolau mountain range, looking over the east side of Oahu.
Fortunately, its time will be short-lived. The Board of Water Supply (BWS), the agency responsible for the land, told local news outlet KHON2 that the swing, along with the pre-existing poles, would be removed by a contractor within the next few weeks.
The view may be beautiful, but the experience is certainly not worth the risk. It is unclear how long ago the swing was built, but it's another safety hazard for the already risky hike. The Honolulu Fire Department conducts frequent rescues in the area, due to a large number of distressed hikers.
The stairway has been off limits to the public for more than 30 years, but after a storm badly damaged a portion of it last year, it became clear that a more permanent solution was needed. BWS has been taking steps toward demolishing the stairs altogether.
However, many Hawaii residents believe the iconic stairs, which have been in place since World War II, should be preserved.
A nonprofit organization called the Friends of Haiku Stairs, for instance, has proposed a plan to repair, maintain and manage the hike by charging hikers to ascend.
"To remove the stairs would be so shortsighted and so narrow-minded," John Goody, a member of the nonprofit’s Board of Directors, previously told The Huffington Post. "Surely we’ve gotta be able to find a way to do this."
The debate on the stairway itself is ongoing, but the swing is something the Friends of Haiku Stairs and the Board of Water Supply agree on.
"If they’re swinging out over an open area, then potentially if they fell off, it could be fatal," Friends of Haiku Stairs president Vernon Ansdell told KHON2. "It’s not helping our cause to have people up there, and we certainly don’t condone it."
And to be clear, since the swing is on BWS land, using it is completely illegal.
Bottom line: stick to your backyard tire swing. Here's a selection of photos so you can experience the illegal rush secondhand, without putting your life on the line.