Thousands of Miles from Home


A Life of Danger

I took another trip to the mountains, but this time for some real hiking. Not that easy paved-road hiking of the last mountain I climbed with Shoko. Shoko sparked my interest when she mentioned that there was a way to get up the very steep mountain behind our house, but had not been to the top in five years. We struck out after school one day when the sun was high in the sky. The path started behind an indoor swimming center and led into the hills. At first the going wasn't very steep; mostly through thickets of overgrown weeds and the occasional thorn bush. Soon we realized that there was no real path that could be easily followed, and started to laugh at the weeds up to our necks. About halfway up the mountain, we ran into two dead ends, so I told Shoko I was going to scout ahead to see if I could find anything that looked climbable. After some searching, I decided to forget trying to find a path and make my way straight up the mountain. Shoko said she would work her way back to the bottom, and I could scream if I got into trouble (ha).

After plenty of bushwacking and climbing a half-rock, half-dirt mound I found a clearing on the top of the mountain. Shoko had mentioned that on the top were lots of "kami no ie," or God's house (this is not the "official" name). Regardless, I certainly didn't expect what I found. Every twenty feet (or 6 meters) was a statue of a god carved in stone, sometime accompanied with a small stone house. From the base of the mountain I could see small figures but couldn't make out what they were. When I finally reached the pinnacle of the mountain I found a small "kami no ie" on top of the highest rock. I had a personal photoshoot with my camera on timer, then called Shoko to see if she could see me on top of the mountain. I was covered with briars and scratched a little with thorns, but it was totally worth the climb.

The view from the mountaintop was enough to take my breath away. Especially on such a bright and beautiful day. On my way back down the mountain, I found the "real" path, but it was quite overgrown. Also, I had to stop often to remove very large, very colorful (and hopefully not dangerous) spiders from my path. I found a small shrine that I had missed on the way up, then emerged from the mountain in the middle of someone's backyard. It seemed as if Shoko's trip to the top of the mountain five years ago was the last time anyone had set foot at the peak.


Post a Comment

<< Home