Farewell Fall: The Last Hike of the Year on Mount Myojin

Nobody in their right mind would plan a hike when over 160 exam sheets are waiting to be graded. Thankfully, I am oblivious to the ever-changing rules about what constitutes a good employee, nor do I feel the need to comply with society’s standards. I would have missed out on a long and adventurous winter hike and wasted my time indoors otherwise. If you haven’t noticed already, “A time spent indoors in good weather is a waste” is one of the recurring themes of this blog.

We got there in the morning and expected a slightly challenging hike, if not breezy. Looking close from afar but getting farther and more gigantic once I got closer, Mount Myojin wasn’t short of challenges. Although there are quite a few words that can describe my experience on Mount Myojin, the most dominant one I can think of is “surprising”—in the sense of not anticipated!

Route C

We could take three routes: A, B, or C. The map said the most painless route was A, and the hardest was C. I felt a surge of anxiety reading the map, but I thought it was okay because I wasn’t alone this time. We went for route C, assuming we could go down using the easy route even if we chose to go up the most difficult route. The other way around would be more challenging.

As the famous Yiddish adage says, “Man plans, and God laughs.” Route C was like life: full of ups, downs, and sharp curves. I picked on my husband when pulling myself up with a rope: “Don’t you think our marriage is like this route?” Too tired to deal with a clumsy ninja like me, he concentrated on his hike and held my hand at exposed ridges. I still hesitate to walk on them because they terrify me—so much for a ninja!

And there were a lot of exposed ridges and sheer and narrow paths that required ropes and chains. I forgot to bring my gloves, so my hands were completely chapped after the hike. Reaching the summit of Mount Myojin took two hours, but the scenery was spectacular. I paused many times to view the surrounding mountains and the Naruto Bridge, which looked like a miniature from where I stood.

Route A

The summit was small but lovely. The sky suddenly turned gray, giving me quite a scare. Worried it would rain, we stayed there for about twenty minutes. I presumed going down would be effortless since the map said route A was the easiest option. Well, if this isn’t a whopping big lie in the world of hiking in Japan, I don’t know what is!

And boy, is it long! From the summit to the parking lot at the skirts of the mountain, it is a 2.5 km hike. Did I say hike? It is almost 90 degrees! Mount Myojin is a triangle-shaped mountain—when you go down, you go downhill continuously with few points where you can actually stand and catch your breath. It was craggy, too, but I couldn’t notice it because of the fallen leaves. As a result, I landed on my bum once and got a ginormous bruise.

I still consider myself lucky because I got away with only a bruise. I could have sprained my ankle or fallen on my backbone. The sun was almost setting by the time we reached the parking lot. It took us another two hours to go down Mount Myojin. I still can’t believe the map says route A is beginner friendly! If going down is that arduous, I can’t imagine going up through it!

Lessons Learned

❗️I will never think a mountain would be easy to hike because it is not as tall as its neighboring mountains.

❗️Because a mountain looks close, it doesn’t mean it actually is! There might be other hills and mountains on the way!

❗️Take Japanese hiking maps with a grain of salt. Their difficulty standards aren’t universal!

❗️Don’t forget to bring gloves and a hat next time!

I have sore muscles and a bruised bum, which would discourage me if I were at the gym. But there is something magical about mountains. No matter how challenging hiking is, I still can’t get enough of it. I still miss the solitude magnified by hazy horizons in the distance and the chirping birds in the trees.

Farewell, fall! In less than a month, I will welcome another year under a different sky*. Another year will go by, and I still will be missing this feeling—this unquenched thirst. I will have too many questions with few answers. And none of this will matter anyway. All I should do is live, live, and live a bit more with hope and love for new adventures.

*I will be abroad from next week on and want to write a blog post about it as soon as I return to Japan! Can you guess which country I will visit next?

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  1. Shahbaz Ashraf

    Interesting account of your hiking, as always! The bruise will go away, but the memories will last. So exploring the nature is a noble passion and pastime.

    I think you are traveling back home for vacation. Have a safe journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahanur

      Thank you 😊 Unfortunately, I won’t be going back home for vacation this time! I’ll be somewhere in the south 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Holistic Dogcare

    Beautiful place indeed 😍.


  3. Shahbaz Ashraf

    So, a new destination for vacation. Hope you will also write about it. Have a great time, Bahanur!

    Liked by 1 person

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