Wednesday, 28 May 2008

A walk in the woods

We tackled our first Japanese mountain called Buna-ga-take (1,214m). The walk started off steeply, ascending a number of switch backs before finally reaching the summit. With vegetation the whole way up, there are no views until the summit. We were glad we had the compass and altimeter.

Below - Buna- ga-take from the summit of Goten-yama (1,097m) and Andy on the summit.

Navigation was reasonably straightforward, following a number of trails. It was interesting to see the impact of previous landslides, flash floods and rock falls along the trail. One of the main route points was a ski centre. However, when we got there there were no buildings to be found. In fact the whole infrastructure had been taken away in 2004 - including the cable car which would have provided us with a short cut down to the next valley.

Below - snapshots of the trail.

There was lots of wildlife along the walk including rabbits, dear, Japanese fire bellied salamanders (newts) , lizards, maybe monkeys and a couple of snakes - which did nothing to ease Jen's frog/snake phobia. One snake was very impressive - about a metre long and just watched us. Luckily we were above it on a board walk. On the way back down though we found a sign (see below). Apparently, it says that the snake was a mamushi - or Japanese pit viper, one of only two poisonous snakes in Japan. I think it also says that mamushi like to be handled by humans and stroked under the chin.

Below - the snake warning sign and some good size logs for the fire!

A really interesting walk. Looking forward to the next one already... However, it's a rest day in Kyoto tomorrow.