Hiking Mt. Katsuragi (葛城山)

Japan

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June, 9 th 2019

Nature’s trail. I published this week’s hike extremely late and wasn’t expecting anybody new to join. IMG_8791.jpegOur Sunday’s hikes became kind of routine and sometimes I’m loosing motivation, but once on the trail I’m extremely happy to escape my nutshell in Nishinari. We met at Tennōji in the morning and this time it was a little bit chaotic. In the end, Hailey, who joined us for the first time, ended up in the wrong train, and Tomal was late. But we managed to jumped on the train and where Hailey joined us and met Flo who was waiting at Gose Station. We hopped onto the bus, who was about to leave and I was extremely happy that we could skip the around 3 km through residential area. At least we had to climb around 980 m elevation and should save our energy. During last week it was raining a lot and some of my coworkers told me rainy season (which will last around  six weeks) officially begun. The temperature dropped, so it was very convenient the previous days and luckily today was sunny and dry. No humidity. The perfect weather for hiking. In a good mood we started into the day. We ORG_DSC04733.jpgstarted at the Ropeway Station (Katsuragitozanguchi) and went back into the little village. Hidden behind a house, we found the trailhead which looked abandoned. It was obvious that anybody passed for months and only a few meters later there was a barrier. When I plan the trails I have no informations about the condition,  but unfortunately I tend to choose the messy ones. I’m not keen to fall into adventures, it just happens. This time I wasn’t keen to climb cross country and proposed to choose the official trail at the ORG_DSC04734.jpgropeway Station. Since we are a group it wasn’t my decision and while discussion Flo just climbed ahead to check the trail and we were following while falling into adventure again. Soon there was no trail anymore, but the terrain was quite ok and I have to say it was extremely beautiful and peaceful. We hiked along a ridgeback through a forest with high trees and soft ground. The trees let a few sunbeams through the roof of leaves. We were protected of the sunlight and enjoyed the cool air while constantly climbing up. Soon it was too late
ORG_DSC04744.jpgto return, but it wasn’t bad at all. We need the position of the summit of Katsuragizan and were just following our feeling. Soon the terrain went more difficult, the ground was more and more covered by fern and other small plants. Hailey and Sayaka found some pink tape at trees and followed them and were leading the group. Both girls are extremely strong and though and it was difficult for us to catch up with them. It went up very steep and we went up cross country. The ground was soft due to the heavy rain during the last days. Every step was ORG_DSC04742.jpegexhausting and we were slipping down. But this forest was so beautiful, the nature untouched and in the begin to grow. The atmosphere was extremely refreshing and I could feel how my internal battery was charged and all stress I collected during the week just disappeared with every single step. For sure, it was exhausting as well. We lost the pink marks and the terrain went even more difficult, but still ok. We sometimes hit the trail provided by open street maps data, but it didn’t exist. We got along very slowly and decided to take a break once we arrived at the ridgeback ahead. When we arrived Flo discovered an unique tree and while going there he bumped into the official trail. All of us were very happy about it. Adventures are nice, but it is also a satisfying feeling having mastered it. We took our ORG_DSC04760.jpglunchbreak while many hikers passed by. We continued on the official trail which guided us through a muddy canyon up again until we had many stairs to climb. We got sweaty, but got along very. quickly (also because Sayaka was leading ORG_DSC04757.jpgagain). Just before summit we got a little bit lost again, but it was just a small detour until we finally arrived the summit. After a short stopover at the vending machine we climbed up the last few meters to summit. The summit of Katsuragizan is one of the nicest and breathtaking summits I have been so far in Kansai. It is not a typical summit, it is a huge willow and we could almost enjoy a 360° view. It is the perfect place for a picnic or just to be with enough space for everyone. Kansai’s highest ORG_DSC04761.jpgmountain, Kongozan, was just a stone’s throw away and we could enjoy this impressive and beautiful mountain. It was amazing. Usually mountains are amazing, but while climbing them and being on top one rarely sees the mountain itself. So it was when we climbed Kongozan in winter. The trail and view was beautiful, but being this beautiful mountain from the top of Katsuragizan was just breathtaking. The sun was gone and it was a little bit cloudy and dizzy. We stayed dry, but I wonder how this view must look like on a clear day with blue sky. We enjoyed our ORG_DSC04768.jpgtime there until we slowly continued. There are many hiking paths at the so called highland and it was fun to walk around. One hillside is planted with azalea which create an amazing view when they are blooming during may. Unfortunately it was already over, but I will come back, because this must been more amazing than I have words for it. Even without bloom it was wonderful. One reason why I published today’s trail so late was the idea to camp at Katsuragizan at the weekend since there is a campsite. In the end I discarded the plan since it was planned short termed and the weather forecast was bad as well. But we ORG_DSC04771wanted to check out the campsite. It is a nice place and for sure we will come back and camp there very soon. The trail I choose for climbing down was closed due to a landslide. The trail directly next to the ropeway didn’t exist either, so we had to take the same way we came from. For sure, this time we ORG_DSC04766.jpgwould skip the cross country part. The trail was going down very steep and it was a very difficult and exhausting terrain. It wasn’t fun, but luckily we were very fast and ended up at a very nice small river with an amazing waterfall. Wo stopped there and got some refreshment until we walked to the ropeway station at the bottom of the mountain. We had to wait some time for the bus und enjoyed the last sunshine while eating Ice cream. Then we took the bus back to Gose Station where the train to Tennōji was just arriving. Together we had dinner in Tennōji until we got home. Tired, but happy.

Access: Kintetsu / JR Gose Station (Ropeway Katsuragitozanguchi 葛城ロープウェイ前)

Distance: 7.8 km

 

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