After seeing the colors dabbed on the hills on Wednesday I couldn't do anything else but go back. Before waking up at 6:30 in the morning, mother earth did the favor for me around 4:30. I counted for about 15 seconds while everything was shaking. I might not clearly recall if that was correct. At about 16 seconds I was half expecting it was the terrible Nankai. The Nankai earthquake wouldn't affect me as much as others though. However, earthquakes are still frightening. Japan is a natural disaster fun land waiting to happen. After checking the TV to see if was a serious quake I went back to sleep for a few more hours before heading out to the forgotten reaches of the Shikoku countryside.
The clouds were hanging around like children who drop their ice cream cones. Low and sullen. Somehow the hills managed to hold their own. The hills remind me of special edition crayon boxes of fall colors even if they never existed.
My bag was heavy and the sweat began to run free from every pore of my body. Whenever this happens I imagine my predicament hiking in the winter with a wet body. I don't know if it will ever be easy to regulate my body temperature properly. I might end up with hypothermia before I ever figure it out. At least the late October temperatures aren't harsh when in other parts of the world the end of October is promising winter.
We found an old piece of pottery along the trail. It was entirely out of place but hand made. Too small to be a flower vase or good for much of anything. We left it to rest on a stump because it was probably some important local cultural property. I reminded my friend of that fact before she freely stole it.
After the mind numbing climb through the sugi waste lands. My spirits lifted in spite of the sombre skies.
Too much color to let my spirit sink.
And you keep going and going. You keep thinking the top is near. Then it's twice as far as you thought.
My friend abruptly stopped and was spooked. I proclaimed how interesting the tree covered in fungus looked. She spooked me back. It was only because the tree was so disgusting looking. But oh how beautiful the process of decay which makes life. That is precisely the reason maggots are so revolting and beautiful at the same time. It might be going a little too far to say maggots are beautiful. Maybe appreciated is better?
On Friday I was terrified that in the past that I ate some morels because I learned of the existence of fake morels. Upon seeing the picture of the fakes I was rest assured it was pretty hard to make a mistake. I can only trust seasoned mushroom veterans I suppose. How well can they be trusted?
Oh how that trail dragged on. The sasa began to creep taller and taller in relation to the trail length. I don't have anything to show of that because it was all very wet and I had put my camera away for safe keeping.
The last push to the top was painful on my heels, ankles, and toes. I felt like I was swimming through bushes. My arms wet. The cold wind at the top nipping the skin. I wanted to finish this mountain off. The clouds became worse and shrouded any view of the surrounding mountains. I guess it wasn't really a waste. Crowning a mountain is always a good feeling. It's more about being out and experiencing anyway. Your eyes and memory will serve you well.
We hit a mikan high at the top. I got juiced up on 3 or 4 of the sweet citrus fruit. That made me temporarily forget I was on a mountain top nowhere near any place I should be eating citrus. What a strange contrast of sorts. Yes, happy.
Okay. Quite happy and ready to get down under the cloud layers. We blazed through the sasa fields and back along the trail in no time. There were many a fall and slips but we came out unharmed, in good enough condition to slay the day with one last stop.
Ah yes the fall from Wednesday, renewed in the glory of daylight.
Was I really on the hunt for fall again or was this just a reminder that value is hard to place? I'm sure Halloween costumes and alcohol are fun too. Give me a break. I'll stare into the glow of my computer and replay my day like an old film projector flickering back and forth. Back and forth. Neither better nor worse. Just a matter of value. Yes, value. Don't ask me what this all means. None of it made sense to me either. I think.