September 11, 2008

A Ladies Hike

Now that the kids are back to school, Ilena has begun to settle into a comfortable routine again. Morning walks, workouts at the gym, coffee with the other moms, and quiet hours at home spent catching up with friends online, laundry and other mundane "home tasks". Today, was not going to be one of those task-laden days.

Several of the women Ilena has become friendly with are avid hikers. Today, the plan was to train out to Ashiya, a couple towns away, head up to the mountain, and hike back towards Rokko Island along the mountain. It was a beautiful day, blue sky, hot sun and seven ladies ready to hit the mountains.

Along our hike, we encountered many locals getting their daily exercise. Hiking is very common among the older adults who live here. The hiking trails are numerous, quaint little temples are everywhere and everyone is smiling. Today was no exception. Ilena wasn't quite sure what to expect as this was her first mountain hike in Japan.

The first hour was uphill - climbing rocks with the help of ropes, wires and even a ladder. Some steep climbing, but it was truly beautiful. Looking out from atop the mountain at Rokko Island and Kobe down below was just breathtaking. Once we started out descent, out of nowhere appeared a wild boar. We had seen signs with lots of Japanese characters and a picture of a boar, but hadn't really heeded the warning. It felt much like we were in a Lost episode, not quite sure what would appear next (though we didn't encounter any polar bears).

Nonetheless, we made our way down the mountain and ended up in the Okamoto shopping area - we were hungry. Our initial plan to have Thai food for lunch was changed when the intended restaurant was closed. We ended up going to a Brats restaurant instead - not exactly what you would call a "healthy" post-hike lunch, but it was delicious. And with a Haagen Dazs chaser, what could be bad?

All in all, a great day! We've decided that we will try and coordinate at least one hike a month while the kids are in school. Not sure if Fuji is in the cards (as it is only open for climbing in July and August), but it's a good thing that Japan is 80% mountainous - leaves plenty of options for quality hiking.


Alexis Jacobs said...

Sounds like you had a great day! Being afraid of heights I am not sure I will be doing much of that climbing stuff.

Lisa said...

Sounds great! Keep on trecking!

jmgesq said...

Go Ilena! It sounds like a great day to me...and Jack will be verrrrrry jealous of the brats! You earned them.