Sunday, April 15, 2012

Shikoku Ridge: Part 1

I looked out the window on Saturday morning and it was sunny. It was also very cloudy. It looked like the clouds wouldn't be a problem. I should have known better than to expect the weather to be pleasant up in the mountains. The conditions changed similar to how they did last week as I made my way up to the Yosakoi Pass. This time it was more rainy and wet. The temperature wasn't low enough to cause snow. Plus, all the snow from last week was gone because of the warm temps this past week. When I got to the three way junction at the pass it was so foggy that the visibility in front of the car must have been somewhere between 30 and 60 feet. I was going to walk from that point 7km or so to reach Kamegamori but as luck would have it, the gate was open. I don't think I would have wanted to do it in the wet fog anyway. I kept hoping it would somehow clear up. A gray car came around a corner without his lights on very suddenly. It was hard enough to see another car with lights on anyway. That car was in stealth mode and it made me very angry. Who drives around like that in those conditions? Pitiful.

I pulled into the parking lot at Kamegamori and decided to wait things out for a bit. In the meantime I had to use the toilet. I just can't do those Japanese style squat ones. I don't bend like that. If I use those I have to take off my pants in order to keep them from getting in the way. Mission accomplished and I didn't drop my keys down the hole either. After a good hour of waiting around I gave up and decided to drive back through Omogo on the other side of the mountains. As I started down the road past the Ishizuchi trail head the clouds were acting funny and I stopped to take some pictures.

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After a few minutes the clouds were continuing to sweep up into the sky and the sun was coming out. More and more clouds were dissolving before my eyes. Blue skies were opening up.

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Toward the peak of Ishizuchi the clouds still continued to roll over the top and kept it mostly shrouded till later in the afternoon. It would have been beautiful up there on the peak on a day like today. I think I'll make a few trips up Ishizuchi this year because the scenery is quite nice. It's even better if the clouds play along.

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With the drastic change in weather I could do what I had really wanted all along. I could walk around Kamegamori on a clear blue day. It was 12km all the way back to where I had come from but I enjoy the views up there so much I don't care at all.

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I look forward to the following view of Kamegamori and this cliff face when it is a lush green from the summer rain.

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I've found that I don't mind the drive much anymore to get up here. I'll probably be spending more time along the ridge. It's easily one of my favorite parts of Shikoku. The road continues on toward Kanpuzan offering a number of small side trails to a number of peaks along the way. I haven't been up any of them but sometime I will.

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I wasn't quite sure if I would go all the way to the top of Kamegamori. Because most of the trees are still a lovely shade of brown, the views up top wouldn't be much better than below. I decided to walk through the lower sasa grass fields and see what the view was like.

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I love this place. I've always climbed to the peak via the more direct route. The lower route is longer and it offers great views of the vast bamboo grass fields. Every time I wish it was an actual meadow. I'm sure I've said this every time I've written about it too.

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There is a dilapidated lodging house farther up the trail. It is quite a mess. I was going to explore one of the buildings until I saw some radio transmitter above a door. That looked too out of place for it to be there. Some type of alarm or sensor perhaps? Seems weird it would be there. There probably wasn't much to see inside anyway. I left but stopped to check the bathrooms first. Moldy green. My favorite color!

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I returned to the trail head. I met a nice gentleman who gave me a cup of coffee while we chatted about nature, hiking, and any related subject. I'm glad I ran into him. He made my return trip quite worth it because of a small tip he gave me. Surprisingly the sakura found me again as well. More on that tomorrow.

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1 comment:

ted said...

I would very much be up for a Ishizuchi ascent this summer. More importantly, when are you heading my way?

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