Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Climbing Houmanzan

So I mentioned before the chatting salon which Wes and I got to meet a few people through. One person Wes met the first time we went invited us on a hike up a mountain with a bunch of people which was on the 23rd March. We'd cycled a lot on this trip and I'd walked up hills before but wasn't really expecting the kind of mountain we faced that day...

We all met outside the Dazaifu station at 11am, not an early start but they did say not to be late. Despite that people were late and we finally set out at about 11:40. There were about 11 of us in total, 5 foreigners and 6 Japanese guys. Myself and a Chinese girl were the only girls there. When we arrived one of the guys had a small drum which he was playing with. Once everyone arrived we had to get the bus to the shrine at the base of the mountain. It was still sakura season so the cherry trees were still in bloom.

So I said I hadn't expected what we got on that hike. When we started it said 2km to the top. The mountain is only 850ish metres tall but taking into account that you can't walk vertically the route was about 2km. That's fine, I thought, I've walked that before. But not up hill. Not even "up hill" I'd say the hike was more "up boulders" the whole way. Someone (I'm guessing a very long time ago) decided to make it easier for people who wish to walk up the mountain by putting steps in. Imagine each step being 3 times the size of a normal stair step and that's the kind of steps I'm talking about. We were basically doing knee-ups for 2 and a half hours straight. Allow me to show you...

Ok, so it wasn't massive steps ALL the way up the mountain. At the beginning there were reasonable sized steps like the ones bellow but after a couple of hours I was knackard. I think there was about 5 different points when I thought we'd reached the top. It was like the final Lord of the Rings all over again "How many endings does this mountain have!? WHEN WILL IT END!?"
What makes it even more ridiculous was the number of elderly people climbing up and down this thing faster than we were, and even a number of people jogging it!

But we did finally reach the top! First things first was sit down and food! Now despite the fact it is was a beautiful sunny day from the top of the mountain we couldn't see very far. This may have been because of the fact that we were too high or because of the pollution from China. The view at parts (of things closer to us) was still pretty impressive though.

After lunch and rest and group pic (on Wes' camera) we began climbing down the mountain. Faster but equally tricky as with each large bolder you step off you have to support your body's weight on one leg. Needless to say we were even more exhausted by the end...or at least some of us were....

My legs were hurting for another 3 days least it's good practice for a weeks worth of hiking in Korea including 2 trips up a mountain!

*BTW it may sound like I'm complaining but I had a lot of fun and met a lot of really nice people. I'd defiantly be up for doing it again....just maybe a different mountain.

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