May 20: Mt. Waita
by Mie
   
The strong wind has gone this morning and we have a refreshing clear sky today. We have made up our mind to climb a mountain after a long time. We took route 210 west and branched at Shounai town (left) to a narrow path winding through the deep valleys. We soon came up a point of view called Keisen gorge.
After a while, we passed Handa plateau of Kujyu and spotted our destination, Mt. Waita (1,500 meter) in the distance. As we haven't visited this area so long time, we couldn't find the entrance to the mountain trail.
A narrow paved road looked like the right route, but it wasn't. A hanging chain with a stop sign closed the way. It was the entrance to a private farm.
I asked the way to a farmer we met and finally found the entrance. When we had visited the mountain first time, we could drive up farther, but as wrong-mannered drivers have been damaging the grass, the road was closed like this. We parked in front of the gate and started to walk. There was just one car parking on the road. We expected we could enjoy a calm mountain climbing.
   
。In the front is Mt. Waita standing alone at the westmost edge of Kujyu mountain range. It boasts of its elegant slope, sometimes called "Mt. Fuji in Kusu." (In Japan, every mountain with an elegant skyline is called so-and-so Fuji.) We walk the wide road - we drove it up the last time- on foot today. My husband carries a large backpack that contains lunch boxes, bottles of water, and apare cloths..
We saw off the roadway and entered a narrow trail at last after an hour walk. I found myself in the midst of sea of l low, striped bamboo field like this.
Some cedar trees stand die, looking like a kind of natural art, but it was a harrowing sight.
But if you see the scene on the way up to the peak, it means you have come a wrong way.
We felt something strange and trace back the trail. We found a wooden sign plate like this in the trail. Which way do you go by reading the sign? Yes, the horizontal white line on the name of the mountain means "To the left." We must be more careful in reading signs.
We followed the sign to the left and soon found a clear sign like this. We have realized the importance to have a courage to return if we lose a way. From here, we could follow the trail without any trouble.
   
We climbed and climbed without thinking anything else. We have already walked two hours from the parking lot. The wind blows so strong and I feel very cold. The real peak saors still high on my back (left.) We escaped from the strong gale and found a sunny place to open the lunch box in the late afternoon. Yes, it was already 3 p.m.
I was completely exhausted by the climbing after a long absence. I have no vitality anymore to challenge the peak just in front of me. My husband dashed to the peak alone with his rucksack leaving behind. Can you see my husband on the top (in the blue circle?)
He returned to me in just 15 minutes. I am disappointed that I couldn't walk mere 15 minutes.
During his round trip to the peak, I was playing by taking pictures with my digital camera.The left side slope goes up to the peak, Mt. Yufu (1584) is melting in the haze in the distance, and Kujyu town lies under quietly.
We started to go down. It is very cold. I found many beautiful flowers of wild azalea in the bamboo grass field. The flower is a gem of the mountains in this area. The best season of it is from now till mid June. The strong gale creates tilted trees like this.
By looking beautiful flowers and listening to the chirping of bush warblers and cuckoos, we at last arrived the car that makes my worn out feet feel relieved.
Well, the last pleasure of a mountain climbing is to enjoy a hot spring. Here in Oita, it is hard to choose a spa because there are so many places to visit. Today, we came up to Yunohira spa.
   
There are some public spas here. This is one of them, "Silver bell." We put a coin for the charge into an offertory box of the altar of spa God. The quality of the hot water is very smooth for skin.
   
After the bathing, we took a simple dishes of eel here in a small restaurant called "Pleasant Field" that features freshwater fish dishes. The set meal of eel was tasty with rich flavor. The eel was grilled light assorted with ground horse radish, an unusual cooking of eel. My leg aches after a climb for the first time in a long absent, but I still hope to have a chance to do so again.

Mie Home Flowers of Mt. Waita