Top of the World!
18 June 2015
True enough, there's definitely an astonishing amount of scenery and Mt. Yakedake in Honshu is really one of the most accessible peak with no specialized mountain climbing skill needed to ascend it. However, you still want to make sure you are fit enough because you will be hiking for hours, in rain and in cold and at some point, your leg muscles will soar so much that it will cry loudly to you and as though begging to you and you have to have the determination to push it going for more.
We were both excited and ready to go, and had it all planned out for how long it would take and what time we had to be back for our scheduled bus ride home. After registration, we were each given a name tag and each of us had a number. So, if you prefer not to call names in the jungle, you can call your friends by their numbers instead. It was a cold morning and we were all decked in full winter wear at the start! I wore my dry fit top, cotton cardigan, down jacket and the waterproof windbreaker. I had a fleece hat on and gloves too! It was less than three degree Celsius! Despite the freezing temperature, we were still blessed with good weather and it didn’t rain when we were climbing.
The start of the trail was relatively flat and easy going, but about 10 minutes in the real climb began. We spent over 2 hours making our way up the first part of the trail, constantly climbing up large rocks and roots as well as metal ladders that helped us up the rock face. The scenery along the way was very tranquil as we were surrounded by so much greenery and fresh air. I enjoy looking at the countryside scenery as I take in the beautiful surrounding. The first ten kilometres was really a heaven for naturalist as we were surrounded by the tropical jungles with various kinds of flora and fauna and panoramic views as we ascend to certain heights. There's also a pretty waterfall that further cools down the jungle. I remembered coming down from the peak, when I heard the waterfall sound from far. I was so elated because I know it's coming to the end of the climb. We started off climbing where everyone was still energetic. As time passed and we ascended higher and higher with dropping in temperature and thinning air, everyone kind of broke up into their own pace. Some can climb faster, some slower. It doesn’t matter really whether you are slower or faster, important is keeping at your own pace and rate so that you don't get tired out so easily. The graded trail soon joins jungle track and going up was like climbing stairs. Just that, it was flights of seemingly never ending stairs that can last for hours climbing it.
The second half of the climb was rockier, in fact it was all rocks as we got closer to the peak. There were fewer plants and trees along the way and at some point, there were a few steep ledges that require us to use the rope. As I climbed, I started sweating so I removed my winter jacket but i still needed it at the peak later on. Each step is so painful yet the chunk of rock that i had been seeing from afar for the past few days drew so close that i knew i can't give up. “Almost there!” We just kept telling ourselves that. And finally after hours of non-stop climbing, we reached the peak! And finally, we did it! We reached the summit at around 6:05 am and were blessed with clear skies to witness the most beautiful sunrise ever. From the rays of sun slowly peeping across the horizon to the golden yolk making its way through the clouds before shining majestically across the blue sky. The view was amazing! Simply beautiful beyond words. The feeling of standing above the clouds, looking at the sky and the clouds below you was simply breath-taking. I always love looking at the sky and clouds beneath me from the airplane but being there, and standing above them all gave me a very satisfying feeling no words can describe. It was a moment between us and nature, a moment that we’ll always remember for as long as we live!