Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mt.Takao Nature Trail

Up hill Journey through the Green canopy

The trail markings, but unfortunately everthing in Kanji !

A bird eye view of the valley and the houses sorrounded by green monsters !

Another panoramic view of the mountain ranges sorrounding Mt.Takao
Date : 16.06.2007
Altitude : 600mts
It was calm and sunny Saturday Morning. My decision to cycle to a new place was dropped because of my bad nature of coming up with ingenious ideas to stay in the bed. I usually satisfy myself somehow to stay more time in the bed. That’s one side of the story. The other side of the story is that this sleeping long hours is alternated with, me sleeping bare minimum, making up on the edge. In this bare minimum cycle I make up with just 4 hours of sleep. During that time I am more productive and innovative too. I need to keep challenging myself to achieve that. But with out knowing I slip out of that and back again on the long , unfruitful sleeping habit , completing the cycle. It keeps alternating.

On 16th of June, it was nearly 9:45 that I got up. Since it was weekend, I was gearing up for my weekend Japanese class. I usually rate myself not very good at learning new language. I believe polyglots are basically bunch of people who are exposed to more than one language at an early stage of development. May be before one’s 5th birthday. Their mind set is just set to take up any new language. For me it takes a longer time to get a mastery over the language. When I really start out with a new language it will be for the perfection. Right now I am trying to make a perfect entry in to Japanese language. I should be able to read their book in their own language. The beauty lies there. OK .. enough of my monotonous talks. Coming back to the story , I was waiting for an excuse to skip this Japanese class as I feel , I am not spending quality time on this beautiful language.

My Mobile starts ringing at 10:45 and Sai calls up asks whether I can make it for a hiking. My immediate reaction was a joyous ‘Yes’. Then I ask him ‘Where?’ He promptly apologies that he cannot repeat that place name and promptly gives the number of Gokul. I immediately place a call to him.

Me: ‘Hey Gokul ‘ , how are you man ?
Gokul: Fine da ( soliloquy : what this da stands for, I am scratching my head ! ) Me: Gokul, what are the plans for the day ?
Gokul: Its Takaosanguchi and from there it’s ascent to Mt.Takao.
Me: Oh, gr8 … I am in. Who else is joining us ?
Gokul: Only Joseph and sai da ….

I just wind up my talks & tell him that I will be joining them at Shinjuku station. Its then a mad rush to seiyu supermarket to grab some quick, dry snacks. Food has never been a problem for me during the treks. Even water too. I just go on and on. My stamina comes from repeated physical exertion for a prolonged period. It’s purely backed up by my will. Will to put the next step forward , when your whole body is saying ‘no’. Its separating the two entities and our mind should be in saying position and body in a responding position. This has helped me in my many previous strenuous treks. Once I remember , I came from Hyderabad and reached sirsi at 5:00 in the morning and and at 7:00 Am went for a trek to Mattigatta. I, Trekked till the evening with a fistful of Avalakki as energizer.

I reached Shinjuku station at 1300 hrs along with sai. Gokul and Joseph joined in a matter of few minutes. We then boarded the train to Takaosanguchi on Odakyu line. The journey was comfortably 45 minutes and compartment was almost empty except for beginning of the journey. As we approached our destination, the place around was turning from a concrete jungle to a real jungle. It was real eye softener. On our compartment we could see only few people , but all with a back pack. Obviously for the same destination. Some of us developed a familiar common bonding and exchanged smiles. At takaosanguchi station we purchased some food items and water. The automatic vending machines are part of life here. They find their way in to the mountain top too. With the printout from the ‘ Day walk near Tokyo ‘ , we maneuvered our way by the side of Nature Museum. There is a path leading to Cable car pickup point. Just before the start of that road we took the steps that was the start of our trail. This mountain is officially in Tokyo itself. This is the one of the closest getaway from the maddening crowd.

The uphill we took had steps in the beginning. Since the foliage was thick and canopy of trees covering us above, the afternoon sun was almost blocked and it was blissfully cool. It was photo rampage from all of us. We met many trekkers who were ascending from their completed circuit hiking. We even exchanged some smiles and Japanese ‘ Konnichiwa ! ‘ . As usual we met people fully geared looking like models and picture perfect. We could hear familiar bell sounds. It reminded me of returning cows from the day grazing ! On our way up we stopped at the temple of mountain deity. The guardian of the Mt.Takao. These people are nature worshippers like us. In some places the tall coniferous kind of trees were logged to make the hiking trail. Here everything is so orderly that I find it really boring sometimes. In forest , the joy of finding ones own way is really interesting and challenging too. I loved the uncertainty in the trekking. I have taken so much risks like there is no tomorrow during my ‘ Phase one’ of life. Mad rush of adrenaline was really the way of my life. It was all the outcome of my previous traumatic adolescent years.
After hiking for around 45 minutes we reached the first vantage point on the mountain. Here there is a one more trail that circles the mountain top. Every now and then we crossed well marked sign boards written in Japanese on the Wooden planks giving the trail directions. From this vantage point we could see the boundary of greenery stretched far below beyond which we could see the high rise and concrete jungle. There is that well marked boundary, one could make out. After a brief snack session, we again started our climbing. As we climbed higher we started seeing the other mountain range stretching and making a dark outline on the horizon.

When we reached the top , it was really nice late evening sun with cool breeze from the valley below that welcomed us. On the top there is a metallic signboard indicating the height of each mountain that can be viewed from the top. There in the back stood the revered Mt.Fuji or Fuji san. It’s a beautiful almost perfect conical dormant volcano. I could take one beautiful snap of Fuji san. The mountain top is around 599 mts above sea level. There are automatic vending machines here too , housing cold drinks and hot beverages. There on the top we met a Japanese couple who had spent around 3 months in India , exploring and tasting the varied cultures of India. They were very excited talking about India and the lady was well informed about India. Even asked about film career of Ash Rai ! . We took a snap along with the Japanese couple. It was warm waving and bowing before we took off for a descent.

We took the route 4 of the hiking trail which winds down crossing a hanging bridge and Monkey Zoo. On our way down we tried to visit the Ja water falls. But due to the shortage of time we had to drop the idea after descending about good half a kilo meter. The cable car drop of point was near by . From that point , it was a silent descent till we reached the railway station. It was almost past 7:30 in the evening that we reached the station. It was 7:55 PM train that we caught , on our way back to Shinjuku. From Shinjuku to Our Den which is 1 hour journey it was silent contemplative journey.

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