Alighting from the bus at the hamlet of Kumogahata
was like stepping-back in time; arriving here required one bus, followed by a train, then two subways and finally a 9-seater bus, a total of 2.5-hours travel. The 9-seater was full to capacity with three different groups and, as the day progressed, our paths would cross (no pun intended) more than once. To allow the others to get on the trail ahead of me, I spent the time preparing my cameras, relieving myself, and removing my hiking jacket and storing it in my pack (even at 9:10am it was beginning to heat-up).
From this point I was leaving-behind the sealed road and entering into mountainous terrain and the summit of Sajikigatake, criss-crossing a narrow stream that, as I proceeded, would soon disappear. About 40-minutes in, my first junction, and first wrong-turn of the day. As there were no signposts about, I checked my map and, putting two-&-two together, took the ascending track on my left. Wrong decision. 10-minutes further on I reached a summit, and the two ladies from the bus. They passed me while I was at the temple. Asking where I was, they informed me I had to back-track to the junction and take the track directly in front of me. As I was returning, I passed by the second group from the bus. Once back on the right track, Sajikigatake was just over an hour away. I was doing good time and, as it was closing-in on midday, time for a bite-to-eat.
The stream I was following, as I made my descent, suddenly disappeared and, as I was soon to discover, reappeared as this five-or-so meter high waterfall from a rocky outcrop. Any other day I would have stripped-off and took a well deserved shower.
Soon my track would emerge onto a forestry skid-site and the access road now became my path to civilization and a smooth sealed road about 2km away. The Amori Resort Camp was my first contact with civilization and, judging by the many cars parked outside, was doing a good trade.
A bit further on and I was reminded of another important time of year - rice harvesting. It is now that the farmers will be flooding their fields and rotary-hoeing them in preparation for planting. To pass by a large area at the different stages of rice growing, can be a sight-to-behold.
So, until next time, Sayoonara.
Course details: http://www.cateyeatlas.com/trip/edit/complete/562976/
I would also like to acknowledge Wes, at Tozan Tales, for allowing me access to his site. Without his post this trip wouldn't have been possible.