Read Part 1 here.
The sun blew up the sky while a Buddhist priest gave a morning service to a small group of worshipers. They chanted some Japanese that was intelligible to me and did some rituals that I couldn't possibly understand. Then when they finished the balding priest took out his cellphone and took pictures of the sunrise. Maybe it was just a camera but I want to believe he had a cellphone. It's hard for anyone to escape the conveniences of our modern age. Maybe that is why we drag our bodies up mountain sides in the hope we lose that connection, if only for a moment.
If you are feeling intrepid you can walk out on the Tengudake. In fact if you want to visit the highest point in western Japan you need to make it out to that precipice in order to make the claim.
Over the past few years I've developed an even stronger love for the fall.
I'm captivated. The Japanese fall is especially beautiful because of the colors at play. I will miss it dearly. Next year I might be around long enough to see it once more but I'm not sure. I might not be able to stay long enough. I guess that is why it's important to take these opportunities while I still can.
I went out on Tengudake to find some more views of the beautiful colors. My friend came out halfway but the drop off and steep rocks kept her back. That's okay. I never will push my friends to do anything they feel uncomfortable with. I know my limits and stick to them.
I crested the top where some sort of monument stands and proceeded toward the next point on the ridge. The wall here is filled with specks of color and bushes. There is a long section of rock that looks like entirely out of place. I thought it was some metal water shoot that had been unfortunately placed on the mountain side. But upon closer inspection it was just weathered rock.
Mt. Misen sticks up into the sky with its little shrine. The lowlands of Ehime can be seen off in the distance. The Inland Sea also appeared on that morning because it was so clear. It's wonderful to see the land, sea, and sky in whole package.
I took in all the views. I was the only one out there. The photographers back near the temple were probably grinding their teeth because I was in their shots. I quickly scampered back over the ridge to meet back up with my friend. It was about time to leave the peak and make our way back home. I greatly looked forward to the views of the mountain and surrounding areas going down.
As I sit here writing on this lovely Sunday morning I can only think how many people are making their way to the peak. The experience changes greatly with more people up there. It starts to feel like a giant tourist attraction rather than a pristine mountain. It already feels that way though because of the inn and temple at the top. It has lost some of the natural feel and it won't ever get it back. Japan has a weird view of nature. I'm not sure if they really revere it as much as it seems. As long as you have built a viewing platform to access the nature it remains okay or something along those lines. I don't think there is any way to justify it. People want easy access to beautiful places with the easiest possible means. Part of me feels that this mentality is so wrong. But what can be done?
Almost 2 hours later and Kamegamori came back into view on the way back down. Two years ago I was out on that peak watching the sunrise all by myself. It was nice to have a friend with me at the top of Ishizuchi however. Christopher McCandless said, "Happiness is only shared." He realized that one can only spend so much time alone before they yearn to share with others. I find that balance to be true in my life.
There were buses of high school girls pulling up to the parking lot as we were leaving. They weren't very happy to be there. But it wasn't by their demeanor we could tell. They adamantly stated they didn't want to climb the mountain. They probably could have sat at the restaurant on their cellphones texting all day. They probably could have used their cellphones as mirrors to fix their hair and make up. They probably couldn't have cared less about being there. People sometimes poke fun at me about my passion for nature. They can't understand any of this. They think they know living. They think they know I'm the crazy one for loving nature and maybe even feel sorry for me.
It is I who feel sorry for them.