An inevitable question asked me right after I shared I hiked mountains randomly.
Sports have played a notable role in who I am today. Childhood was weekend playtime. My siblings and I played games with our neighboring mates. It was what we regularly looked forward to doing after a 5-day long school streak.
It usually happens as a reward for a job well done in school.
I love sprinting, running, marathons, and ball games. Any sports that doused my body in sweat.
I treasured the most when my parents played with us until my university years.
Just a heads up, I am not a pro. I'm slow; I am after the thrill it gives me when I beat my limitations.
In 2017, my student (now friend) invited me for a climb at Mount Daimonji in Kyoto. I wasn't confident physically.
Sure enough, I acknowledged it was strenuous but relished it a lot. It happened a couple of times more. It was reaching the peak, and seeing the grounds from a higher view was always the most rewarding. By the way, that was my first.
Trekking a mountain on special occasions or for someone dearly became a routine.
So, last May 6, 2022, I decided to wander as my second-year birthday celebration. Gratitude to God for the gift of life and, of course, to stay fit, I decided to go to Mount Mitake and Rock Garden in Tokyo.
This trek was distinct from what I used to do. I am used to high slopes focusing on my breathing, foot positioning, and strength. On this trek, it was minus everything.
Second, I go to extreme heights like 1200 meters and above. However, Mount Mitake was the eighth to the lowest mountain I climbed, 929 m. Yes, I started as low as 330 m in 2014—my first climb. Later in this blog, I will indicate the list of the mountains I strolled.
Third, my first to see boulders of rock wrapped with beautiful moss and brushed by the mesmerizing rivulets of water, constructing a soothing sound and adding more tranquility to the journey. Extremely breathtaking.
Realizations on this trek:
1. It is NOT ONLY about reaching the peak that gives you satisfaction—low elevation yet long treks are likewise fulfilling—Mount Mitake, for instance.
2. Trekking is not EXPENSIVE. Some assume it's costly, but you don't have to. I began with solely jogging pants and a neat, dry shirt.
To determine if you need to purchase (a trekking backpack, trek shoes, hydration bladder, headlight, hiking hat, trek poles, trek clothes, etc.), you must first assess if this will be your long-term recreation or an occasional one.
If yes, start with a daytime pack.
If not, you can wear any durable shoes, sweatpants, and a shirt.
Investing in it soon will be a waste of money, significantly when you are financially constrained.
Never compare yourself to other trekkers who wear full gear. They were also beginners who slowly leveled up their necessities. Or they are professional hikers. Also, they won't judge you on what you wear.
Your hike's difficulty and endurance should correspond to your gear.
Yes, hiking gear is expensive, but it could last up to 10 years. It goes without saying how frequently you use and take care of them.
I repeatedly use mine, and I care less about fashion. After all, I see trekking as survival, challenge, stress relief, and self-accomplishment.
What do you spend on your trekking day?
a. Food and drinks - if you wish to try the food there. (I bring my own.)
c. Entrance fee (I usually go to entrance-free hikes)
d. Toilet usage fee
e. Souvenir (I haven't bought one)
3. Last but not least, the pleasure of encountering strangers.
In a typical setting in Japan, since I started working here, we rarely utter 'Konnichiwa' to strangers unless in a business setting. For example, we purchase something, ask queries, or seek assistance.
Only in hiking do I get to say Konnichiwa or hello to people. May it be ascending or descending the mountain, I say that warmly and calmly eye to eye.
That makes me happier in addition to my trek buddy.
I see that gesture as trekkers uplifting other trekkers - simple yet meaningful.
Why do I love trekking?
Aside from those cited above,
1. it doesn't judge me on how fast and slow I go,
2. gratitude filled emotion
3. a reminder of "this too shall pass" (the steep steps and inclines resembled life tribulations - success and failure)
4. And it gets me closer to the heavens where my parents are. The sole motivation I continuously climb lately.
Well, I guess I will continue this hobby until my body can't. I hope you can discover yours.
As promised, the list of mountains I trekked in Japan with pictures (according to elevation).
1. Mount Nokogiri (330 m, 2014, Chiba)
2. Mount Daimonji (465 m, 2016-2017, Kyoto)
3. Mount Nyoigatake (478 m, 2016-2017, Kyoto)
4. Mount Kuroo Yama (509.4 m, 2017, Kyoto) side trip to Miyama Village
5. Mount Takao (599.15 m, 2021, Kanagawa)
6. Mount Ono (723 m, 2021, Kanagawa)
7. Mount Mitake- Rock Garden (929 m, 2022, Tokyo)
8. Mount Kintoki (1,212 m, 2021, Kanagawa)
9. Mount Ooyama (1,252 m, 2021, Kanagawa)
10. Mount Nabewariyama (1,272 m, 2021, Kanagawa)
Thank you for reading.