Map number 18
Mt. Myoko is about a 4 hour drive from my house. My plan was leave home early, hike Myoko, and then head over to Mt. Hiuchi, sleep in my car overnight, hike Mt. Takatsuma in the morning, then head home.
It didn’t quite work out that way, not because of any particular negative events or circumstances that prevented it, but sometimes minds change. That’s just the way it is.
There are 2 routes that take you to the same junction and take almost the same amount of time. I took the one to the right because I’m a sucker for the path less traveled, but it was probably a bad decision because not only did it take a little longer, but it was overgrown in many places and had a few washouts.
After the junction, the trail took me to what looked like an avalanche shoot. There was still snow here even in mid summer. The wind swept down the shoot, cooling the air drastically. I was sweating up until this point, then a within a few minutes in this area, I had to put a long sleeve shirt on, and came close to putting on pants over my shorts. It took me a little bit to find the trail because it followed a rocky outcrop next to a snow melt stream, and then drifts of snow covered portions of it. Just out of this area, I was out of the wind, and it was back to being hot and humid again.
I was making pretty good time, but this happened to be the same time and place as a school summer trip. I had to wait as about 50 or 60 boys past by in the opposite direction. Then when I got to a rocky outcrop with chains, I had to wait as 50 or 60 girls made their way down. That ate up about an hour.
By the time I got to the summit of Myoko, it was already later in the day and I had a choice to make. Either continue on to Mt. Hiuchi which according to the map was another 4 hours away (as I mentioned in previous posts, I usually half the map time). So the total extra round trip would take about 4 hours. I knew that if I attempted this additional trek, that I would be hiking down Myoko at night. I had a headlamp, but the route up here was quite steep, slippery due to mud, and there were a few places with chains. I didn’t want to be trying to get down that at night. Plus, I heard rumors of a free outdoor public bath with milky white water back at that little town.
I headed back. The pubic bath was gender-separated. I think now would be a good time to inform you of the kanji for men and women. The one on the left is men, the one on the right is women. Make a mental note of that before using this public bath.
The water looked very pleasant, especially after a long sweaty hike, but actually this water was extremely hot. It was too hot for many of the Japanese, who normally can take high temperatures. It felt skin-melting for me. I finally settled in, but couldn’t stay in for more than a few minutes before I had to cool off in the air again.
When I got back to my car, I could’ve just stayed there in the parking lot for the night and relaxed, or made my way over to the next trail head, but I felt compelled to just go back home. So I did. And while I wish I could’ve completed more peaks while I was in this area, I know that I’ll return here again.