Monday, November 4, 2013

Omoshiroyama-kogen Pictorial

As you begin your hike/trek down to Omoshiroyama, this is the view

This is the first waterfall. You get this view even if you turn back now.

Then you see the first "stairs" and the first bridge, across a dam "waterfall. The bridge is about 1 m wide and with no handrails. Do you turn back?

If you do, you miss this view of the waterfall from the other side.

And this view of the way ahead.

Up ahead, you see the 2nd and 3rd bridges. They look sturdy. And even have handrails!
That's not too bad now is it?

If you don't look too closely at the worn wooden planks...
And those gapingly HUGE holes (okay, they are NOT that huge).
Pull yourself together!

Just in time to see this: Yes. You're going to have to walk through that. Yes, it is a waterfall.
Yes, it's washing through the path you have to take. Do you turn back now?

Of course not! You walk right through it! Barefoot if necessary!
(to keep your shoes dry.)

And then you wonder why you bother, because the path just "dissolves" into the river,
and you now have to walk through the water, anyway.
It's as if whoever was marking out the path, just suddenly gave up and said,
"OK that's it. I give up. Just walk in the water."

And when you get through the water to the other side, you find a bridge.
It's a sort of suspension bridge. It sways as you cross.
And the gaps between the planks seems yawningly WIDE.
(But it's not. It's safe. I made it, remember?)

Then you look up and is rewarded with one of the many spectacular views of Omoshiroyama in Autumn.
Then you look down, and see this narrow trail you will have to walk. With the just a rope handhold to keep you from plunging into the icy cold river (yes, it's icy cold. I stepped into it remember?) You notice rather worriedly, that one of the pitons has come off the rock. Did someone cling desperately to the rope as he (or she) dangled perilously over the water?
Or is your over-active imagination painting things more dramatically than it is?

Before you can answer that, you are faced with a fast flowing - practically a small waterfall, really
- stream washing across your path. Yes, we have to cross this too.

And cross it you do!

The occasional manmade object are the only reminders
that you are not lost in the woods.

Then another waterfall. It is seen only by those who care to venture into the valley, as you have.
It is nature revealing her secret, her intimate self to you. And you feel a little privileged to share this... "intimacy".

The 5th bridge has a warning. "Danger" it says. But you can't read the rest of the Japanese script. So what do you do? You've been trekking for almost an hour. Or more. Do you go back? Of course not! We're not wimps!
So onwards we go...

You descend what seem like temporary stairs that lead
into the water,  apparently.

When you look back to see how far you have come, you see this:

As in life, you can't always see how far you have come. If you have fallen far, you may see where you had started. If you have climbed high, you might see what depths you had wallowed in. But often, all you can see is where you have most recently been. And things in the distant past, remain a distant memory.

Ahead, you see the final (6th) bridge), and one more waterfall to reward your trek.
The last bridge you cross is another suspension-type bridge. It sways.

A series of stairs take you up along the side of the waterfall, up to the road.

At the top of the stairs, you find a road. You turn right to walk down toward Yamadera. About 4.7km.
If you turn left, you walk towards Omoshiroyama-kogen station. About 2 km.
If you look to the hills across the valley you just climbed out of, you will see, if it is the right time of the year, the colours of autumn in the wooded hills.

As you trek down towards Yamadera, the road is narrow and almost apologetic, as it winds,
as unobtrusively as possible, between the trees. The trees seem to part generously to accommodate
the intruding road.

The accompanying blog post to this pictorial is here.

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