Friday, March 21, 2008

The Hike

I made all the preperations for a 4-day hike into the Yuragawa Valley beginning from this morning. I got a tent and a sleeping bag off of Tatsuya. I set out on the bus this morning. We went way past Kurama. The road turned to one lane. The passengers got older. The tempeture dropped. The snow hung deep between the trees. I started to get nervous, like when I paddle out to surf and realize how tiny I am in the water, and slow. Bear warning signs started to appear. One of the last bus stops was called "Opening Where You Can See Bears." I started to regret my decision. I was the only one left on the bus by the time we got to Hirogawara. I told the bus driver what I was up to and he got very worried. "You don't have to do it." He kept saying. I decided I would hike up the seldom used road to the trail head. It took about an hour or so to make it the 2-3km. It was a very,very steep climb. I banged a stick of the guard rail to keep of the bears. The valley was beautiful, with two creeks converging in the piled up snow. After an hour and a half, I finally loacted the trail head. I couldn't locate the actual trail, but I had already decided to turn back after I saw my first small avalanche. It was a long steep walk back. I waited next to the bus, looking at the old, old grave markers, collapsed under years of snow. I would recommend the bus trip to anyone. You can see lots of old, thatch-roof houses. A worthwhile trip.

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attempting to silence the voices in my head.