Located on the East Coast of Oita Prefecture on Japan’s Kyushu Island, Usuki is a city with a rich history of […]
It was our first time hiking Mt. Yufuin.
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It was our first time hiking Mt. Yufuin. From Oita city the lower road rather than the expressway offers a better view so on the same occasion we decided to take a one hour drive heading to the entrance trail head of Mt. Yufuin. Originally our destination was supposed to be the middle trailhead entrance however we got a bit lost and ended up going in the direction of the backside of the Yufu interchange. From the Yufu interchange we passed close by the the Northside of the mountain and could see that it was covered in snow and there was an ominous cloud that was floating near the top that could put beginners like us at risk so we thought to ourselves “Should we quit today?”. While looking up at the overwhelming presence of Mt. Yufu we unexpectedly said that joking to ourselves.
(One word of advice)
For beginners it may be difficult to find another trail other than the marked “trail entrance” so it is recommended to take the marked trail. Recently many map applications for phones allow you to go anywhere fairly easily without planning ahead however when one is goes to a place to hike there is only nature as far as the eye can see and since the signal for cellphones is weak it is better to do some preliminary measurements of the distance one plans to hike. Also there are usually several routes for different hikers abilities from beginner, advanced and expert at the trailhead so it is wise to select the route appropriate for your ability.
Now, let`s get back to mountaineering!
It was close to 10 o`clock after searching by car around the surrounding area of the mountain for the middle trailhead . There were many hikers already ascending the mountain when we finally began our hike so we decided to ask them many things about trail. Calling out to people you don`t know can be a little nerving so it is important to be polite and it will better your chances of learning some valuable information of the situation of the trail. It is also one of the real charms of mountaineering as well. You can enjoy interactions with warm hearted people that you can`t imagine from the usual city life and you think “sure enough being at a mountain is great” as you are able to relax your mind and body. We got this valuable advice from one hiker “At the peak of the mountain there is snow but until then you have nothing to worry about, take care and have a good hike.”
From that we began our hike. From the trail head until the mountain`s slope gets bigger, you can view ““magnificent scenery while walking. However we thought to ourselves “can we really reach the summit” as the slope became steeper and we became to feel slightly tired. Our expectations and anxiety became mixed together as we proceeded. The ground was a little muddy but it wasn’t a problem.
When walking in a forest while being surrounded by conifer trees with fresh air all around is quite a pleasant experience. During our journey we crossed paths with many different people descending the mountain. There were people who enjoy climbing with their dogs and elderly people as well despite being alone who were enjoying climbing as well. Children to the elderly, anyone can enjoy mountaineering at their own pace as it is a truly wonderful activity. The next area we came across was a rest area at the halfway mark and after about 50 minutes of walking from there we finally arrived at a place where the view expanded greatly and we could get a good glimpse of the magnificent scenery.
We thought to ourselves “We made good distance!” but there was still some distance to go. We had both feelings of euphoria and fatigue that came up at the same time. When you have come this far up the mountain the part of the mountain that you could not see until now appears and it looks like mountain far off in the distance. From there we continued to walk and we met some elderly women in passing so we decided to ask them “How long until the summit?” and they replied, “About 40 minutes.” Even though we could see that far away we still had 40 minutes ahead of us so we rallied out spirits and continued.
As we approached the pass before the summit we could see hoar frost on the trees and noticed the steady drop in temperature as well. Shortly after we arrived at the mountain pass that divided the East peak and the West peak. We saw a sign with “Matae, East peak, West peak and Bungo Fujimi 1,584M” written on it. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking and I was at a loss of words. The Southside of the mountain that we hiked up had a fair amount of ice at the summit. However for the first time that day, at a close distance we were able to see a large area of trees covered in hoarfrost.
From this spot we could see both the West and the East peak towering over the surroundings and a view of the north side of Mt. Yufu it was deeply moving. It was so beautiful that you want to express the beauty even to the people that you don’t know standing next to you. However we had a mission that day to reach the top so we couldn’t spend too much time being impressed with the sight alone. We had to choose between the East or the West peak since physically and time-wise it was impossible to hike both of the peaks that day. As it was our first time climbing this mountain we decided on the East peak as it was the less difficult of the two. However that being said it was rather steep until the top so we had to ascend carefully while using our hands to avoid sliding. We finally reached the top and before our eyes lie a wide open space. On the backside as well there were trees covered in hoar frost. We were deeply impressed with the wonderful landscape that Oita boasts.
At the top we ate fried chicken and meat rice balls made by our relatives. Eating food on top of a mountain is especially good. The overall time it took us was fours hours, two hours up and two hours down. My friend who is just as in good physical shape and who is usually very talkative complained from the beginning saying “My knee hurts”. He was a little bit noisy however I am glad that we all made up and down safely with no injuries. I would defiantly like to go back and hike it in the Springtime.
If you’re searching for the perfect escape from city life, to a place where you can experience breathtaking sc […]
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