Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I Heart Hiking in Japan: The EPIC Mt. Myogi

June 13th, 2009

The day had FINALLY come! After approximately 382 failed attempts at hiking the infamous 'most lethal' mountain in Gunma, Mt. Myogi, the weather was finally JUST good enough to risk the climb.

Awesome off center, slanted group pic on timer off the roof of the car. Representing Maebashi die hards from left to right are: Takahashi #1, Alekh, me, Erin, Alex, Julie, Jen, and Laurel!

It starts off all Japanesey, shrine entrances and whatnot...

and there were even stairs, and a torii gate.

And then, the REAL hike began.

First and only real landmark of the trail: giant kanji.

Kanji kanji kanji.


Half way point where those exhausted... have a cigarette and whiskey. I heart Hiro.

Or, if you're sane, food.

And we've reached a summit!

Alex'll be comin' round the mountain when he comes (yee-haw!).

Julie standing in dismay as she sees yet another chain to abseil. You can do it!!!

It didn't rain... but it wasn't clear skies. Still a pretty sweet view.

Back at the arch near the base.

Don't feed monkeys onigiri bigger than themselves... they will explode.

Boooo - made it back to the lot just in time to miss out on softserve strawberry ice cream:(

Dominated it!
Most lethal, my butt! We kicked YOUR butt, Myogi!
One and a half years after the anticipation regarding the challenge that is Mt. Myogi left me, quite frankly, disappointed. Was I more sore than I had ever been before in my life? Yes. Did some people reroute half way through? Yes. But not one person died. There wasn't even a major, or minor, injury! Bring Kilimanjaro on!

Post hike onsen and ice cream.

And a return to the post best hike cuisine: Sushi-Ro 100 yen sushi!!!

Yum yum, eat 'em up!

I Heart Hiking in Japan: Kiryuu Edition

June 7th, 2009

Andy: "Wanna hike a mountain in Kiryuu?"
Me: "OKAY!"

No bus in sight, we get a cab. Cab takes us to a corner. We must walk another hour up roads to get to the trail head. It is gorgeous, so I don't mind one bit. Yay for sun, FINALLY!

The heat and 60 degree incline ain't got nothin' on Uri, clearly the most prepared with a man-purse, short shorts, and sandals.

Alex and Andy on the other hand... well, they perspired a lot more than Uri.

We never actually reached a summit, per say. But since we weren't positive where we were were and figured time wasn't on on our side, we turned around here. Great view!

Mmmm - Soyjoys!

Random kids' drawings lined the start of the trail. This was for sure my favorite.

Two-leaved flowers?!?!

We made it! To the start, so we can walk another hour back to a bus stop.

Best post hike (or post school festival in Byron's case) dinner: Sushi!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Six Months, 18 days, and some odd hours after I've left Japan, I WRITE AGAIN!

Six months, 18 days, and some odd hours after I have left Japan, and I am FINALLY dedicating some time to writing in my beloved blog. I could think of a million and one reasons why it's taken me this long to write.
It's not that I forgot about ya, 'ol blog, or anyone that still somehow, somewhere still occasionally checks my page for updates. No, no. Quite the opposite, in fact. I've thought about you frequently. I've visited you, and revisited you in hopes of brewing nostalgia, which you successfully deliver every time. I feel I've let down reader(s?) with my far from timely reports. My failure to really give you the love, attention, and refining additions you deserve lie in my fear of your demise. I fear that by writing those final entries from my last adventures in Japan and South Korea, I will be officially closing my book on epic world wide adventures. I fear that people will no longer be interested in hearing from me. Life in Wisconsin is great, but thrillingly exciting it is not. I know that travel bug itch of mine shall never be fully scratched, however and the adventures will continue for years and years to come. SO, I owe it to myself, and my reader(s?) to reach back to archives (over 8 months ago now - shame on me!) and blog away about the best of times in Japan, South Korea, and even update my friends abroad about adventures in the midwest America.

My last blog was all about Malaysia. A pretty perfect adventure in my opinion and one that will be hard to surpass in awesomeness for future expeditions. It definitely prepared me for May in Japan, which brought about some pretty stellar hikes. Here are some pictures from my first overnight hike with the man, the myth, the legend leader: Tomo. We headed to Mt. Ryogami in Saitama for the adventure.

About to start up the two day hike after trains and buses galore. And yes, I'm wearing spandex under my shorts. It's all the rage in hiking fashion these days.

Tomo: such a poser.
All good Japanese hikers come in bright, solid, multicolored apparel.

Setting up/watching Tomo set up the tents for the night.
And then continuing on to a peak - there's still sunlight to use! Eri miiiiight be the cutest hiker, ever.

The mist burned off a bit at the top so we got to see these perty flowers. Masuda-san was all about video things with his phone that weekend.
Eri had 'lil cake thingys to celebrate our arrival at a peak. Woo-hoo!

Camping dinners for Japanese are so unbelievably impressive. While Julie and I would be perfectly content with our Clif or Luna bars, everyone around us was whipping out pots, pans, whole fish, noodles, pickled vegetables, mochi, tea,... enough for a 3 course meal - for real. It was insane (ly awesome!).

Of course any good hiker makes enough room in his pack for beer, as it gets dark by 6pm... and then it's a looong time til sunrise. Masuda-san demonstrates how to enjoy a camping night.
3:30am rise to decide whether the weather was good enough to continue or whether the mountain wins again and we have to go back down the same route we came up... guess what happened?
At least there was sunrise and breakfast!

Perty mountain flowers.
Traversing over rivers.
When we finally made it down, we trusted Tomo to get us on the right buses back. We made it, eventually.
Not without stopping for ice cream though, of course.
More May madness hike posts to come. And I promise it won't take me six months to do it this time!