The first time was late March or April of last year. I took a different route that time. I thought for sure the road that took me over a mountain range into a forestry monoculture was going to dead end. A few times the dead foliage of the sugi made me think the road had vanished completely. Such fond memories of that day. That day led me to Hachiken.
Last month the route was shorter and easier. Which in the countryside still translates to long and time consuming. But the rains had graciously let up and gave me a much needed reprieve. Along the way is the fall pictured above and below.
You can go anywhere in Shikoku, maybe Japan for that matter, and find waterfalls. It was always a pleasure of mine to find small falls in the backwoods of southern Illinois. Those falls were meager streams spilling lazily over rocks not usually more than a few meters tall. But Bork's Fall was a great introduction to ones that were much better.
That was also the first waterfall pool I swam in. From that point, probably even before that, I wanted to see more falls. Water is an interesting thing. I loved playing in it and with it as a small child. Watching it run between a coarse groove in the sand box. Seeing it get sucked into the dry cracked dirt. Freeing a dam of debris to help a gutter drain. To see water working in the most natural ways always had a strong impact on my feelings. That is why a waterfall invigorates my mind. It's everything I could never make. Just waiting to be found.
I'm sure no one would disagree that waterfalls are beautiful but my level of appreciation is fundamentally different as you can see. I often hear things such as, "Oh you went to a waterfall again?" and "You are such a maniac for waterfalls." The reason is not just because I like the waterfall but going to those places awakens many parts of my mind that I love to have come alive, a sense of imagination, exploration, and discovery. All which are connected to my sum of experiences and thoughts.
My first glimpse of Hachiken on the internet set my imagination in action. However, finding the way there the first time was a small adventure of its own. The internet had told me to follow the water channel and that required finding an unmarked path behind the hydroelectric site. Seeing this pipe was the only clue I had to go on. So I followed along the pipe, winding slowly to the top.
There was the water channel and my exploration continued to unfold. I loved the feeling of unmarked paths and places people didn't usually go. It was a perfect moment for me. The final discovery of Hachiken itself was powerful.
It's not a matter of being a maniac or foolishly obsessed. It's simply imagine, explore, and discover.