After three months of break from blogging starting with an interesting hike I recently did.
Sometimes path is so close but you are too engrossed in your own thoughts and fears to notice it…
Apart from hiking I have been experiencing this in many situations these days. Finding the path which will safely lead you to your destination is always tough. That’s where we all struggle don’t we? But then it is the journey that makes things interesting.
Soon autumn will make every leaf in Japan bloom. Burning red to soft yellow the colors change the mood of each mountain. Mountains in Autumn look more inviting than ever before. While enjoying the shape and color of the leaves one forgets about the heavy backpack and the long walk.
Just few weeks back I decided to go little far from Tokyo to enjoy early autumn shades. Introducing Mt Mizugaki and Mt Kinpu. Two of the famous top 100 mountains in Japan. They are situated in Yamanashi Prefecture.
We started our journey at Niirasaki Station. Took an hour and a half to reach the trail head. The first thing I noticed when I saw the board of Mizugaki San was, the name was written in Hiragana and not Kanji in other words it was written in Japanese syllabic writing and not Chinese characters. Mizugaki has the auspicious distinction of having the most difficult Kanji among 100 famous mountains.
As we started walking in the woods I remembered the forest of Mizugaki is owned by the Emperor himself. The rocks of Mizugaki consists large amount of granite.
We walked till the campsite first. Mizugaki-sanso. The path till here was easy. Few steep places. Mizugaki-Sanso offers nice campsite at 1800m. Toilet facility and few rooms are available for those who don’t own a tent. Waterhole is just few meters from the campsite. Drinking fresh spring water was so refreshing; I wish they had sold that in the convinient stores. Had lunch and headed for the summit.
To my surprise we started with a long descend. We were going down for almost 45 minutes. Finally saw the dried river and a path leading up. Crossed the river and started the climb finally. First it was gradual followed by few ladders and started seeing big boulders. Soon we were climbing with the help of chains. It was going to be rock climbing all the way till the summit. The weather was good so we had company and stopping for breaks was difficult. That’s the thing with Japan, you find almost all age groups on mountains. Climbing with equal enthusiasm. After climbing few rocks I stopped for a sip of water and I had an elderly gentleman behind me; should be 70? He was climbing with his wife. ‘You take your time’ He said with a wrinkled smile. I was panting and this guy was so together! He could’ve climbed till the summit without break if I had not stopped. Little embarrassed I started climbing again.
When the wall of boulders just seemed unending, heard a voice this is the last bit! As much excited as I was to explore the summit I was also worried about climbing down this beast.
The narrow summit is the scariest one so far. Instead of gradual valleys there are high drops from huge rocks on all sides and one needs to be really careful while exploring. My friend refused to explore and sat just where the path ended. The view was fantastic and the best part was we could see tomorrow’s destination on the right.
We reached the campsite around sunset. Summer was definitely long gone. We pulled out our fleece jackets and started cooking. Campsite was almost full. After the recent typhoons I guess everyone wanted to see clear sky and enjoy the early autumn chill.
Got up early in the morning and started the hike towards mount Kinpu. Instead of climbing till the summit we decided to take the less trodden path of forest workers and enjoy the view from Dainichiiwa. Dainichiiwa is a spot before Kinpu. Offers beautiful view.
The path we took was for forest workers so there were no hikers. The other path for hikers which everyone was taking had no view. Our path offered a view of Mizugaki san and a nearby river on right. There were so many types of mushrooms on both sides. I even got to see the red mushroom with white dots; always thought that is imaginary! Autumn leaves on the path had made a red carpet for us. Here is a thing about less trodden paths, you get to see more foliage without disruptions. At one point we realized we have lost the path. While marking the path; forest workers tie red ribbon on trees. We could see the path behind us but in front there were just trees and tall bushes. There was lot of mud, hence difficult to walk. It was a long way to go back and take another path so decided to go ahead. In few meters we spotted the ribbon, still no path! 30 minutes later we also lost the path behind! This was getting tricky. The only solace was we were able to find ribbons after ever few meters! After panicking, overthinking about everything that could go wrong and telling each other everything is just fine I looked to my right. Just behind the tall bushes I could see the trail!
Getting lost is just part of journey isn’t it.
After a gradual ascent we reached our destination! The views were fantastic. The clouds in the sky were so dramatic! Mizugaki San was just in front of us. The craggy beast looked so difficult.
The rocks, colors and the forest road. This was indeed one of the memorable trips.
Hope you enjoyed my story. Do visit once in a while for more 🙂