Sunday, June 10, 2012

平家平

I made simple Italian sausage yesterday for pizza.  Today was supposed to be pizza day but I got so lazy the night prior that I didn't make the dough.  It really wouldn't have been much trouble to make it but I lost all my motivation from earlier in the day.  Maybe cleaning my stairway took it out of me. I woke today with faint aspirations to put my body into physical submission. I briefly racked my memory of places and 平家平 came to mind.  Last fall, I believe, I went to that area in search of a waterfall.  I probably went about 1/4 of the way up the mountain trail until I couldn't find the waterfall nor move forward.  There was grass as tall as me blocking the path.  10 minutes prior I had almost stepped on a venomous mamushi so I wasn't going to take my chances in tall grass. I returned home that day but told myself to come back and hike to the top of the mountain. The only snakes I saw today were this kind and they are harmless. S for snake. How fitting.

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I pulled up to the trail head area and it was littered with cars.  I wasn't quite expecting there to be an extravaganza.  I stashed the car in a little clearing and lugged my bag onto my back.  Today I was taking no chances so I brought a large brush knife with me.  That thing weighed a ton.  I'll try not to haul that up a mountain with me again.  As it turned out the trail was recently cleared so it was unnecessary. Looking back I should have put the knife somewhere along the trail so I didn't have to carry it all the way up.  Yet, I have been packing my bag heavier and carrying things I don't really need recently. It's part of my training regimen. I was huffing and puffing and decrying the steep trail portions along with my bag. A little more than half way up the trail I met the first group of hikers and sailed by.  Then not much farther ahead I met a massive group of elderly Japanese plodding up the trail. They let me by and I shared some brief words with the pack leader.  I think she tried to ask me if I had heard about the girl who died in Yellowstone the other day but her question didn't connect with my brain till I was much farther along and at the top.

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The name of the mountain makes sense. It's very flat on this part of the mountain.  I never get tired of the grass up there. Never.

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I wandered around the top for a few minutes and took in the views until I proceeded west. I looked out to the next peak on the ridge which was 冠. I had hiked all the way up and it was too soon to descend. Would it hurt to set out for the next peak? I lolled on the nearby rock for a bit and watched a man disappear into the shallow depths of the ridge.  I was amazed how quickly he vanished.  I decided to follow and the views looked better up there anyway.

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The trail went up and down for what seemed like way too long. The thick grass plants obscured the trail and I slipped again and again. The flies were everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Surprisingly it wasn't that annoying. I just wanted to hit the next peak though.  My water supply was running rather low and the sun was baking my skin.  It was partly cloudy at times which saved me from being too roasted.  After who knows how long and waiting for a 45 person group to pass me on the trail, I arrived.  I traversed down the backside of the peak and found a crag to sit on while I ate an apple.  I watched the clouds slowly rolling up against Sasagamine in the distance.

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I thought about going on to the next peak but with hardly any water left I knew I would be far too tired and drained for the long trip back.  I watched a man stumble along the trail below.  I wondered where he was headed and where he had come from.  People inevitably wonder the same thing about me.  Who is this boy walking these remote hills?  Just a boy who loves the splendor of everything around him.

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Plus, I fit the part better than anyone out there today. Enough said.

5 comments:

ted said...

Beautiful place.

And is that not also a mamushi in your photo?

blaine said...

Don't scare me like that! You made me do a thorough search to reconfirm what I thought I knew.

I believe it's a rat snake.

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_ACttM_UHkc0/SWFXgBVu7kI/AAAAAAAAFF8/04_W2eQwxNE/s800/aoth.jpg

The mamushi I almost stepped was smaller but the head had the distinct V shape. I've seen lots of the rat snakes and it's pretty easy not to confuse the two.

Thanks for making be double check!

ted said...

Yeah, the angle of your photo makes it look like it has the tell-tale mamushi mark of ten yen coins along its back. But I see now I was wrong. (It doesn't help that I'm colorblind.)

I'm guessing you already read my post about the two huge rat snakes/shrine deities I saw in Nagano a few weeks ago. Crazy.

blaine said...

Yes, I enjoyed that post. It's always great to find that kind of thing.

I have some questions for you about the Shikoku 88 trip you did. I'll email you sometime soon about it.

ted said...

Sounds good. I'd like the explore the idea of doing a hike somewhere together this summer.

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