My latest Post.

This view,this beauty
A tear unbidden
Creeps into my eye.

My stay is short
But I shall return to this place
If only my life is long enough.

Such beauty
Gazing upon it
I hope my years are many.

Bokusui Wakayama.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

No Plan/Getting Lost in Ujitawara.

   It's been some time since my last 'no plan/getting lost' outing and, as I have been spending some time in the Ujitawara area of late, where best to reacquaint myself with this idea, than amongst the many tea-plantations, hills-&-valleys & forests that make-up this area. So, with scenery as in the above image to look forward to, I was eager to get on the road. It dawned a cold, fine & calm morning and, after an 18km x 1-hour ride, I reached my first junction.
Map Location.
Map Location.
   After spending a few minutes setting-up my cameras, and taking-on energy, in the form of a banana, I was off down my first lane. With scenery like this, one has to concentrate in case a local appears in front of you driving a light truck/van.
   About 1km in and my sealed lane becomes a muddy track - I was conscience of the recent rain and the possibility of getting wet underfoot - when I happened-across this signpost directing me, and other eager outdoors people, to a site further up the trail.
Map Location.
   About a half-kilometer later my track came to an end, heralding my arrival at the Ryuou-no Taki Shrine & Waterfalls (video). I was immediately blown-away with the isolation & serenity of this complex. It wasn't until I saw the vermillion-colored Torii hidden amongst the trees that I realized what I had stumbled-upon.

It didn't take me long to make out where the 'falls were and, after ascending some steps, I arrived at . . . .
. . . . the Shrine itself, nestled midway between two waterfalls, with much moss and vines adding a touch of color & atmosphere to the site. Waterfalls in Japan hold strong spiritual significance and, in many cases an icon of Fudo, the God of Waterfalls, can be found.
   So,  just as I was about to depart this site, I spotted, hidden amongst a rocky outcrop, two religious icons. The gentleman on the left is Fudo, but the one on the right I can't seem to find a name for. It has been suggested it may be Chinese - Taoism.
    After exiting the forest, my next destination was immediately on my right, through a plantation of tea and, a few meters on, my next stop -  this concrete lantern. It seemed a strange place to have this object. 
Map Location.
From here it was another forest track, and another dead-end but, in front of me, I could make out a concrete flood-protection dam, but it was a track to one side that attracted my attention. After scaling a steep/muddy hill I gave-up and returned to my bike. As I was descending  I managed to catch glimpses of the Ujitawara rural countryside below me and, as I did so, wondered if there were any tracks down there for me to explore. There was. My third track of the day was to take me just below where the above image was taken and my first irrigation reservoir of the day. What resembled a faint track, bypassing the reservoir, came to it's conclusion on the trail I had just descended from 5-minutes earlier.
Map Location.
   From here I re-emerged onto route-62, about 100m up the road from where I entered, about an hour earlier. My next track was about 100m down the road. A kilometer up the path I came to a junction where five tracks converged.  
One track was blocked by a truck, so I proceeded straight-ahead, leaving the other two for when I returned (if I returned). This track ended at my second irrigation reservoir of the day and a very nice angler who bade me kiotsukete (take care) as we parted. Oh how I envied this man - sitting here, in the bright/warm sunlight of the day, with a fishing-rod in one hand, and a mug of coffee in the other (the site has been placed on my 'picnic location' book for future reference).
Map Location.
   Returning to the junction my next track, my 5th of the day, was on my immediate right and, after a short ascent, I emerged at a power-pylon (above image). There are thousands of these spread throughout Japan and, those located in isolated places, have access tracks leading to each.
   I was aware, thanks to the online topography map, that there may be a track from here ascending to the ridge-line. So I decided to go for it - bike, bike-shoes and all. The track looked well defined and, five minutes in, I emerged at a clearing that overlooked the reservoir, angler-and-all, that I visited about 10-minutes previous. Looking at the way he was pulling at his fishing-rod, he was about to secure his breakfast for the following day. As I proceeded along the track, my surroundings began to close-in on me, and the going tougher.
    My path was becoming more difficult as I proceeded, with many fallen trees laying-over the small stream I was following and, with the recent rain, traction was becoming impossible.
Map Location.
    I reached a point (in the above image) where to proceed would be nothing short of suicidal. What I was confronted with (in the image on the right) was an almost vertical ascent with no guarantee of the track amounting to anything. So I decided to cut-my-losses and return to the 5-track junction, not before placing this track on my 'must do' list - on that occasion without my bike. Upon my arrival at the junction, track-6 was now blocked by a farmers vehicle, so I took this as an omen and decided to finish my no-plan, getting-lost excursion and head for home and a hot shower.
   Each excursion into the outdoors always provides me with great satisfaction and exhilaration, but none more so than these outings. Because I have no idea what to expect, and what is around the next corner, I always come-away with an appreciation of what we have here on this planet.
   Thank-you for reading this post and, until next time, sayonara.

   Video of the days outing -

   Course details - (I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the map location & course details).



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