Saturday, November 20, 2010

Second Fall colors walk

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9 a.m. and the sun starts to burn off the mist that fills the valleys and blankets us all night long. It promises to be a fine day as I head across the river to catch the train downstream to Gotsu Honmachi where my mountain walk begins.

I head out of Honmachi by the ancient San'indo, the road that once connected the capital in Asuka with this region. Then I head up the slope of Star Mountain.

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It takes less than an hour to reach the pass at 300 meters, and from then on its downhill all the way to the river at Kawahira.

I love these mountain roads. More like wide hiking paths as there are no vehicles.

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The forest and vegetation is thick, and only rarely can I catch glimpes of a vista, so for Fall colors best to look up.

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There are no villages up here in the mountains, nor hamlets, only the occasional isolated homestead. If 2 or 3 are in close proximity then for sure they are relatives. A different breed of people. More independent, more self-sufficient.

Maybe half the homesteads are now empty.

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About halfway down there is a small shrine on the hillside across from a big Gingko tree. When I first walked this way some years ago I stopped in at the shrine, as is my habit, and found it fairly dilapidated, so I was surprised this time to hear the sound of hammering and power tools as it appears it is being renovated. I would guess there are about 6 families left in this area, so it is good to see that they still care about the shrine.

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Getting lower in altitude the valley starts to widen a little and I reach the "suburbs" of Kawahira.

To be continued

2 comments:

  1. oh, thanks for the tour. It is truly beautiful and so special to see the remote parts of the countryside.

    ReplyDelete

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