Karen gave me the idea and I decided I might be able to do a once a week thing, we shall see. I thought it was a cool idea. Just be warned any of these “really good” shots were just a matter of luck. 🙂 I am not a photographer, but I do have hope. 🙂
Daily Archives: April 3, 2006
While visiting my sister in Japan I went on numerous hikes and enjoyed exploring on my own. My brother-in-law showed me how to use the trains and turned me loose. I went on two very memorable hikes by myself. One was to Mt. Mitake.
Though rain promised to fall I left early in the morning and took a train (with probably a few changes) to Mitake station. Rain began to pound upon me as I walked up to the cable car station. The way up the mountain is so steep there is a cable car running to shuttle people back and forth. I was grateful for the short respite from the rain. I hopped off the cable car at the top and hiked on up to the visitor center. At the top of the mountain is the small village of Mitake and the famous Mitake Shrine. I enjoyed touring the museum of swords, armor, mirrors and many other things. With umbrella in hand I wandered through the small village enjoying the ancient architecture and the beautiful scenery through the fog and rain. I thought about cutting my hike short, but decided against it and set off out of town towards Mt. Hinode.
Only the sound of pounding rain kept me company as I hiked following the instructions in my guide book carefully. After a time I began singing songs to keep myself company. The trail was deserted, due to the rain I am sure, and the only living things I saw to keep me company were giant toads along the path. I have never seen toads so big! I would need both hands in order to hold one. My plan was to hike to the Yasawa Stalactite caves, a plan which would never be realized.
Hiking alone in a strange country can be a bit intimidating and I would often get worried that I had ended up on a wrong trail if it took to long for certain landmarks to appear. It didn’t help that everything was shrouded in a gloomy fog. The landscape would gradually fade to nothingness as ghosts of trees loomed up beside me. It was strangely beautiful and eerie at the same time. I did end up on a wrong trail for some time but it looped me back into the main trail and I uttered a prayer of thanks that I was not hopelessly lost. I kept trying to tell myself that it was silly for me to continue hiking in the pouring rain and to head back, but some unknown reason spurred me on.
I made it to Mt. Hinode, enjoying what I could see of an amazing view; mountains filled with trees and bamboo as far as the eye could see, which wasn’t too far considering the fog, but it was impressive none the less. I nearly turned around at Mt. Hinode but again felt a spurring to continue and so I set off down the trail that would take me to the caves. I had been hiking for about and hour and forty minutes when I reached a junction in the trail. I had to choose between four different paths than the one I was on. I froze. My book talked about a junction but not such a big one. I stood dripping with rain as I pondered about which path would take me where I wanted to go. Finally I decided on the far right path and after a silent prayer, that I felt confirmed my decision, I set off down the trail.
I didn’t get more than a hundred feet or so before I saw two lone figures sitting on the side of the trail. Forlorn, drenched, and hopelessly lost sat a young mother and her daughter of only 5 years or so. They leapt to their feet upon seeing me round the bend. Neither of us spoke any Japanese. She was from Quebec and spoke French, with some English. I spoke English with only two years of high school French under my belt. We managed to communicate that they were staying in Mitake and had some how become lost on the trails outside of the village. I immediately abandoned my plan to go to the caves and offered to take them back to the town. I handed the little girl my umbrella and we began the long hike back to Mitake Village. They followed me willingly and we enjoyed attempting to communicate with each other through our unique language barrier. After a time we took turns giving the little girl piggy back rides.
As the end of the trail approached and the first building came into view the young mother became excited and cried out while pointing, “That is where we stay!” The path ended at their doorstep. They tried to invite me in to get dry and have a bite to eat but I explained my sister would be worried if I didn’t arrive before dark, which was not a too long off. I watched them hurry into the home as I quietly disappeared into the fog.
I have no doubt that God inspired me to follow the path even when I thought to turn back. I don’t remember what they look like but I remember their smiles and the intense gratitude on their faces. I am glad I followed my feelings to continue and that I was granted such an amazing experience. The memories may fade, but their smiles will never pale in my mind.