21 November 2010

I mountain

Weather conditions yesterday couldn’t have been better if I had had them made to order and delivered to my front door. It was in fact just as I opened the curtains on the front door side of the apartment that I saw mist being burnt away in a grey puff by the morning sun.

I was nearing the end of the book Invictus (previously Playing the Enemy) and with Shosholoza in my mind I head out toward Mount Kannan 神南山.

In the beginning it was pretty easy going. I was thinking “wow, either this is easy or I’m getting better at this”. I enjoyed the morning sun breaking through the trees, found a little settlement of houses, and took pictures of the ever-improving view.

Then of course the tarred road promptly ended and it was hiking time again. I fought off my pessimism by enjoying things like the experience of being inside a golden light chamber under a ginkgo tree. The always-present snack pack of dried cranberries, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seed also didn't hurt.

I finally reached the top along with some paragliders. They were discussing the wind and the area they would fly in. I was wondering about the wind as well, but more along the lines of “is anyone downwind from me right now, appreciating how much I smell like a dead animal?”

The view was great; the lighting, not so great. I looked at the assortment of towers and passed the paragliders again just as one person took off.

I made my way back to the sign that showed what was happening on the peak and took the other road from there and then there it was! A well-lit view of the whole town! Uchiko 内子, Ikazaki 五十崎, and even a bit in the direction of Ōzu 大洲.

After that, instead of heading down an unfamiliar track (I had initially thought to find a different way down), I found my way back to the route I had come on. Seeking familiarity was probably motivated by my dislike for walking and my bicycle’s non-off-roadiness. As in: has no shocks, is equipped with thin smooth road tyres. The road down can best be described by Japanese onomatopoeia: ボコボコ bokoboko.

I do however understand the appeal of extreme sports now, especially for people who find it difficult to focus under normal circumstances. If you don’t focus, you fall down pretty hard. Or if you fall down in an unfortunate enough way, you die.

So very exciting, but not quite as exciting as making it back to the tarred road without dying. And then it was more wind in my face and afternoon sunshine all the way home!

Total distance: Not really calculatable—Google maps limitations
Lowest point: 60m
Highest point: 700m

View Uchiko, Ehime, Japan in a larger map

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