Hiking, but not as we know it


Since 70% if Japan is wooded, it makes sense that hiking, rambling and just walking are popular.  There are often well-maintained facilities, maps and signs to help.

I like to hike in the hills above Kobe.  The hills are immediately to the North of the city.  Within a fairly short period of walking, you can get a very good view of the city, harbour and across to Kansai Airport if the sky is clear.

When your trail is this squiggly and shows a u-turn, it means you're on the wrong trail. And the squished-up contour lines ain't great either
On this occasion I walked to the East of where I would normally start above Kitano Kobe.  Starting on a small exercise park with paths into the bush, I thought that I had found a nice track since I had switched off global data roaming I didn’t have a full resolution map.  If I had, I would have noticed earlier that there wasn’t a track as such, just lots of contour lines.

The path seemed like there had been hikers through that morning, but I soon realised that no-one ever walks here.  Even with poles the path was slippery, each climb revealed another climb and the trees never ceased.

Expecting a Totoro at anytime

After about 30 minutes I was going nowhere.  I tried to find  way across to the opposite ridge, but it was just as steep and slippery.  Admitting defeat I walked down to the bottom of the ridge, eventually meeting the same “path” I climbed and the relatively safe, if steep and narrow roads in Kitano.

Next time:

  • Download the maps;
  • Check the path, and;
  • Don’t leave mobile coverage area.
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