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May, 19 th 2019
Lost and found. Even though the weather is just perfect for hiking, only a hand full of people signed up for this event and even less joined the WhatsApp / LINE group. So, this time I expected to be rather alone with Tomal, which sounded very nice to me after this fully loaded week. To my surprise three guys showed up at Osaka Station when I was about to leave with Tomal. They were exchange students and two of them were German. It has been a very long time since I met some Germans. We went to Hanshin Line and less an hour later we arrived at Kasuganomichi Station, where we met Cheng. The trail started directly behind Shin-Kobe Station, so we had to pass urban area. Behind the Station there was kind of a park and we had to climb up many stairs. Luckily it was in the shadow. This park was very nice and a popular destination for locals with their families. We followed a nice clear river, which guided us to a water reservoir in the mountains. It was a nice sunny day and the atmosphere among us was very relaxing. The trail become more and more a hiking trail and all of us became hungry. We took a break at a place where the river bed was very large and surrounded by the mountains. It was a wonderful place and many locals spent their free day there, having BBQ, chatting and enjoying this beautiful place, while the kids played and in the small river. After lunch we continued and noticed a sign which said the trail I
prepared was destroyed by a typhoon and called it very dangerous. Today I wasn’t up for this kind of adventure, but a local told us it would be safe and it would be secured by installed ropes. We continued. The people around us disappeared and we only met some trail runners. The famous Mayasan (san = mountain) was close, so many trails guided there. We went deeper into the mountains and suddenly the trail was blocked by a fence warning about the danger. We ignored and continued. I was hoping the best. The trail became very beautiful and went into a fairy tale like valley. We had to cross the riverbed while trying not to get wet feet. Then we could see the damages. In front of us it looked like a part of the mountain rushed down. Some people came down. As long as there were people coming it couldn’t be that bad, so I relaxed and continued. It was a short climb up, and the installed rope made it way easier and even before it really started it was over and we passed the barrier warning about the dangerous part from the other side. It is pretty amazing what these signs can mean: from a little bit inconvenient to messy until life threatening. Maybe they should invent a scaling. We had a nice view into the deep green mountains which surrounded us until we entered a forest road. We only went on this trail for minutes until we climbed down into the riverbed again. It was amazingly beautiful. The riverbed hosted a small clear river and went through the green mountains. It was an extremely peaceful and amazing place. We followed the river, which guided us into the forest. The small forest trail continued homogeneously, accompanied by the tiny river all the time. This scenery was also like in a fairy tale and I deeply enjoyed this wonderful trail. The group had different pace, so there were a small gap between two main groups. We took care about each other and waited. We went deeper into the mountains and lost sight to the other halves of us. I don’t know how it happened, but the guys from the group behind caught up in a few moments, but without Tomal, who was the last one. I really didn’t know how he managed to get lost within a less than 10 min. There was a junction just behind us with more than three trails merging and I was immediately sure he took the wrong one. In theory he knew our detention and the trail. In theory. I knew he wouldn’t wait at a junction and wait to get picked up. I was sure he would continue and getting
even faster trying to catch up with the group. It wouldn’t be possible to catch him. For sure there wasn’t any service in this area, only my gps was working. Anyway I sent him a message explaining where we are going and the trail’s file. The trails he took went more or less into nowhere and continuing without him felt wrong and I was very sad about it. But I also knew he would survive and made his way back home somehow. For the people with me, who attend for the first time it might looked strange to leave without him, but Tomal getting lost has become a story itself. So, we continued on a small forest trail and ended up on a road. I made some signs into the soil if he passes by and also made stone arrows at each junction we passed. Just in case. Today’s destination was closing and supposed to hit a summit, but unfortunately we couldn’t find the trailhead anymore. The map guided us into a camping village with small huts and inside we got horrible lost. There wasn’t any trail out and for a long time we hopelessly searched for it. We asked a random local, but for sure he couldn’t help us (usually even locals often doesn’t know about the trails around) and he recommended us to go to Mayasan (Mt. Maya) and take the rope way down. I found another path down to the city, its trailhead started a few meters aside the street we came from. This was a way better option than going back to Mayasan and we even could see the trailhead when we passed by before. So we walked back along the street and suddenly a lonely hiker appeared. Tomal. It started laughing loudly. He made it. Usually this kind of stories tend to have a happy end, but this time I wasn’t sure, because I already experienced some of his navigation skills… But he made it and I cannot describe how happy I was when the lost sheep returned. I asked Tomal if he recognised our signs on the trail. He nodded. No comment.We went in and challenged a lot of up and downs. I asked Tomal if he recognised our signs on the trail. He nodded. No comment. Reunited we went to the trailhead, which was also the trailhead of the trail we were so desperately looking for. We went in and challenged a lot of up and downs. With tired legs and empty stomach we only could half enjoy the climb. At the summit we were exhausted and tired and according to my fellows reaction they didn’t expect that amazing view. We sat on a rocky plateau and enjoyed quietly the breathtaking view of Kobe, Osaka and the wonderful Ocean. Nobody said a work and we all enjoyed. This was the reward. Again I was deeply thankful for the opportunity to live here in Japan. Far away I saw Abeno Harukas. My home. Yes this is the place where my heart is. Wherever I will be on this planet, a piece of my heart stays here. We still had to climb down and unfortunately the trail became a little bit messy. It was still ok, but the steep descent was more than challenging with tired legs. I hiking the whole day in my barefoot sandals and my muscles were burning. I enjoy hiking barefoot or in light sandals, but the risks to get injured increases dramatically when your legs and mind are tired. The trail seemed not to end. Exhausted we bumped into a residential area and took a short break while the sun was setting. We towards train station and some of us went to a nearby ramen shop. This one only offered very special dishes. I ordered a curry tomato ramen, which included a free set of gyoza and homemade kimchi. A strange combination, but it tasted way better than it looked like. With a full belly and heavy legs we walked to train station. At home I felt asleep immediately on my new mattress. My legs were still aching. And it wouldn’t change for the next two days.
Acces: JR Shin Kobe / Kasuganomichi Station to Rokko Station