Monday, October 22, 2012

A two-day hike ~2日間のトレッキング~

Oct 18-19, 2012
Yodogawa -> Mt. Miyanoura -> Shin-Takatsuka hut -> Jomon Sugi -> Shiratani -> Kusukawa

So the typhoon cleared out faster than everyone expected, and I hopped a bus to the mountains, intending to retrace half the route I took my first trip to Yakushima. Japanese hikers like to get started early, and the trail was empty by the time I got to the entrance to the Yodogawa Trail.

The skies are so blue. In this land where it rains "35 days a month", today is the first time I've been able to see "Tofu Rock" atop Mt. Kohban. I hadn't even known that mountains overlooked Hananoego, the high-altitude peat marsh.

And then, the outlook where I fell in love with Yakushima. The first time I was here, 3 years ago, it was about 5:30am, and the world below glowed with mountains poking up from an orange fog.

I meet a group of about 30 senior citizens doing a one-day roundtrip to Mt. Miyanoura (altitude=1937m). Why do people come from so far to climb Mt. Miyanoura? This is why: A 360 degree view of Yakushima with funny granite boulders dotting the green mountains surrounded by ocean. I'm alone at the top, and I have a nice little cry. When I sit down next to the peak marker, the wind dies down, and it's perfectly silent. I can hear only the feint ringing of my ears.

I meet all kinds of animals: numerous deer and monkeys, a weasel, and several interesting birds such as the Japanese Wood Pigeon and the Eurasian Jay.

When I get in to Shin-Takatsuka hut, it's already getting dark. Someone has started a small fire--off the scale of things you shouldn't be doing in this area of Yakushima--but it's been burning for a while and I let it go. Besides, it's cold and the company is nice. Most of the folks staying in this hut have come up the trail from the Jomon Sugi tree, and they're hoping to see the sunrise over Mt. Miyanoura. I'm tempted to join them, but today I'm planning my descent down a trail I haven't walked before. For breakfast, I eat a package of boiled chestnuts someone had dropped around Mt. Miyanoura, and head out around sunrise.

From Shin Takatsuka hut, it's not far to Jomon Sugi, and by now I know the Okabu Hodo (aka the Jomon Sugi Route) like the back of my hand. It's full of great sights like Wilson's Stump and the Husband-and-Wife Sugi trees, but when I'm on my own none of that matters, and I can soak in the feel of the overall forest. It's a pleasant stroll down with my headphones on. This would be a great trail for trail running, but there's too many people most of the time.

Soon I'm on the railroad tracks, pausing to greet the guides and let them pass with their clients on the way up. I turn off the tracks at the branch to Shiratani. Shiratani is full of up-down trails, and I'm a bit tired, but everything is so green, and the weather is perfect.

As planned, I veto the normal bridge towards the parking lot, and head down the old stone trail the loggers used in Edo times. It's a long trail down that ends just a couple kilometers from the ocean, and it's full of slippery pebbles and stones, and I just realized my new shoes are too short. . . but the trail has been recently cleared, and it follows the beautiful Kusukawa river. This could be a mountain river in Anywhere, Japan. And that's why I love Japan.


When I reach the town below, there's a lady airing out some mattresses. She runs inside as I pass. But then she comes running back out with a bunch of "kakarandango,"  a sweet confection of mochi wrapped in a leaf.


And that's why I love Yakushima.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be visible for five days before moderation. Please do not post a request for a hike as a comment