16th November 2014
Organisers: Rolf and Kiki – co-organizers
Participants: Yukiko, Yasuko, Musumi, Loric, Billy, and Nene
We had a Great hike in Okutama on a Sunday, thanks Rolf and Kiki.. and NeNe!
We had to get up early to catch the train, and took the Chuo line holiday express to Okutama Station. Okutama is a nice mountain area about an hour train ride west west of Shinjuku. Seven of us and Nene, a wonderful little datsun, met at Okutama Station. It was a definitely a fine autumn day, cool and sunny.
A couple shops were near the station, so we could buy some snacks and drinks. We started our hike up some little roads on the side of the mountain, going past houses where country folk must live, and then we were following an old railway that has been out of use for some time (pic1). Nene’s little legs carried her up the mountain, happy for the fresh air and abundant smells. (pic 2) We were hiking along country roads and paths. There was a yuzu tree with orange citrus fruits tantalizing us.(pic 3) Nene wanted me to get some but they were just out of reach. Luckily we could buy some that were already picked and set out on a table, 3 for 100 yen..
We shared a tasty Yuzu and saved some for lunch and went on with our hike. Our trail went along a river but kind of high up on a slope, so we saw nice fall foilage and beautiful sparkly river scenes, sometimes leaves flew up unexplainably, there was yellow ichyo and red momiji, and mixes of hardwood and cedar forests on more distant hills. (pic 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
At one point Nene was startled by some country dog chained up by a house next to the path. Nene changed direction and ran full-speed back down the trail back from where we came, her ears were back and tails down!! We managed to get her to come back , and carried her past the barking country dog. Nene is a really brave Datsun but this country bumpkin had really surprised her!
More things happened.. We went by old shrine, home to a very generous god. That shrine had a rare slab of exposed fault-line rock hanging over it, that I was told is of great interest to geologists. (pic 9)
We came across suspension bridges that tended to have bicyclists in spandex and sunglasses waiting in lines, wanting to peer down at streams.
We were getting hungry and ate at an old garden part of where a house used to be, just rock walls now the footprint of a house. (pic 10, 11)
It was a wonderful sunny lunch, and NeNe definitely got her share of fruits and vegetables. Then we hiked more, finally coming down the mountain, and could view a big lake that Tokyo gets its water from.(Pic 12) We carried Nene a little so she wouldn’t have to walk down the steep parts of the trail with a full belly. Winding up at a bus station, we caught a bus back to the country train station and took the Chuo line back to Tokyo..