Monday, January 12, 2015

First Hike of 2015! Takeyama Hiking Course

This weekend I made a trek (ok, a short train ride) to Tsukuihama to walk, climb, slide, maybe fall, and talk my way around a few mountains with a few good friends!  We may have taken the longest route to our destination, we may have walked towards the same mountain peak at least two times, we may have gotten turned around in a tiny little town, and we quite possibly could have seen some strange stone-work, but we most definitely had a fabulous day!

As you can see, it was a beautifully clear day!  We left Tsukuihama Station and headed toward Mt. Miura-Fuji.  Last January I hiked Mt. Miura-Fuji with a couple girlfriends.  This year, we took a slightly different route.  

The beginning of our hike was nothing but fields and sun!

(Note:  All pictures were taken on my phone, 
so not as good (or bad, depending on whether or not 
I have the camera on the right setting, sigh) as they would be on my camera).

-I kept expecting to see two perfectly round blue eyes peek at me from under those cabbage leaves...oh, dear Kimberly, I remember you fondly, with your Xavier Roberts stamp on your behind, and your way too easy to fray, yarn hair, and all those cool sweaters my grandmother knitted for you.  

A very warmly dressed Jizo greeting us at the entrance to the trail.  After prayers were said and donations were made, we headed up the trail.  The beginning was a bit steep, but here and there it would level out enough for us to rest our legs and catch our breath.  The littlest one in the group, only three years old, was so fantastic at keeping up!  She hopped up the hills like a frog, she raced her brothers, she giggled and kept up with all of the adults.

The view from Takeyama.

After a short break, we headed back onto the trail.  At the top of Hodaiyama we saw this group setting up for their New Year's lunch on the mountain.  The first hike of the year is a big deal here.  Since our hike turned out to be beautiful, maybe our year will also be amazing?!  :)

At the end of our Takeyama Hiking Course we stopped for lunch at Junko's house.  She had ozoni prepared for us.  Yum!  The boys toasted mochi for us and we slid that into a warm bowl of broth, veggies, chicken, and fish cakes.  Oh My Word!  This was the perfect meal after a great hike.  And, oh how I love green tea!  

After being fantastically energized at Junko's, we made our way back out and towards Miura Fuji again.  Now, the details get a bit sketchy here.  Which is a big reason why today's hike was one of my favorites.  We were able to get on a trail and walk (climb, huff and puff) for several hours.  So...don't expect too many technical details about the trails.  Mkay?  :D

A short walk through the city of Tsukuihama, a left turn at a park, a right turn after the park, a curious look-see over a fence or two, and eventually we found the incredibly steep trail up the mountain.

We made our way to the end of the trail.  It was a great hike!  Most hikes I tread upon are easy enough for the 6 and 8 year-old legs in my little group to handle.  This hike was steep enough in a few places that we used a rope to help us up the incline.  Definitely not for the kiddos.  Not a picture-taking trail either.  It was actually nice to get out and wander around without constantly thinking, how can I make that shot look good, which angle is best to look at that flower, how can I get a picture of that without all those people in it?  I could

The end of the trail had such a tranquil little collection of statues, green with moss.  

 Poor guy had a broken leg that someone propped back up.

Just down the street we found a six foot tall Ebisu.  Just makes you wanna smile, doesn't it?

Down the street and after an accidental walk into a school parking lot, we found ourselves at the bottom of many, many stairs.  So, we climbed up and up and up.  I have no idea what this place is called or how in the world to tell you to get there.  Sorry, like I said before, details are sketchy.  I may have been working at a decreased brain capacity due to the burning in my quads and the screaming from my lungs.

Some of the statues here were like none I've seen before.  They were stunning!   

 Strange to see a cross in the middle of a cemetery here.

The kannon Mackenzie and I have said, "we HAVE to go see that sometime", every time we went past it on the train.  I may not know the most direct way to get back there, but we can figure it out, I'm sure.

Behind the kannon was a section of Jizo dedicated to children.  There is a somber line of praying statues, some covered, some uncovered, some with flowers, some with toys, all placed there with love.

Is this Modok?  Maybe a sad Modok instead of angry?

Awesome hands!  Huge five feet tall.

Sleeping Buddha

There was a row of statues toward the back of the park.  This guy had pretty cool facial features.  Each one seemed to be holding something different and had a different expression on his face.  There were ten in a row.

This guy had a baby lion in his hands.

The line of ten.

I'm very thankful for the beautiful weather and therapeutic conversation!  This was a refreshing first hike of the year!  BTW...13.5 miles!!!