Our return to Shikoku included climbing that island’s two highest peaks, Mt Tsurugi and Mt. Ishizuchi.
Tsurugi was a do-over. We’d been in Shikoku earlier in the winter and approached Tsurugi from the west, on a route that was (we learned the hard way) closed due to a bridge that was being rebuilt. A fun adventure but a climbing FAIL.
This time we approached from the east on a more popular route to the trailhead, and later in the year so there was less snow.
We were still ahead of the regular hiking season so the trail was wonderfully empty — the few folks (only two or three) we did meet were employees of various lodges or mountain huts, hauling up supplies and getting ready for the upcoming onslaught of hikers expected for Golden Week.
Ishizuchi was probably the highlight of our Japan hikes. We overnighted in a roadside parking lot with about 15 or 20 other hikers, some who planned on getting up before dawn to begin their hikes. The night was cold and we dipped into our supply of dollar-shop handwarmers to stuff into our sleeping bags, to stay warm.
We met some true mountain devotees on that hike, not just silly folk decked out in Mont Belle attire.
Meg pushed herself to climb the Tengu extension from the peak of Ishizuchi.
I came face to face with my fear of falling, fear of death.
All in all, good times above the clouds.