My latest Post.

This view,this beauty
A tear unbidden
Creeps into my eye.

My stay is short
But I shall return to this place
If only my life is long enough.

Such beauty
Gazing upon it
I hope my years are many.

Bokusui Wakayama.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Kamodani-no Taki Waterfalls . . . .

   It was by sheer coincidence that I had been given a map of activities, for the outdoor enthusiast in the Yamashiro province of  south Kyoto, that I discovered the Kamodani Waterfalls.
Map Location.
   Located along route-307 in Joyo City, the entrance to the area would be easily missed as the sign, promoting the 'falls, is so small and overgrown with shrubs and vines (see arrow in image).
   My first venture to the 'falls was by  bike and it was while I was reading this noticeboard, with map
of the course, when three ladies approached me. They were horrified that I was going to attempt this course with my mountain-bike slung-over my shoulder. "Oh no,no,no" they said, "it's far too dangerous to take your bike with you, and with those shoes you are wearing". So I returned a week later, again on bike, but with hiking boots in my backpack, for my second attempt. 

   The area was in the midst of Hanami and the Sakura were in full bloom, even in as isolated places as this. After a few meters of following this meandering stream, I turn a bend . . . . 
. . . . and I immediately come to appreciate the advice the ladies had given me. Suddenly I found myself enclosed in this gorge with vertical walls of rock on both sides.
   It was from this point that I was about to get my boots wet and get-into some rock-hopping - in conditions such as these, a very dangerous practice.
    Soon it was time for the first of several rope-climbs. These two took me above the stream but, a little further on, I would be taken up a steep hill, over a ridge, and descend back to the stream.
Map Location.
   It was at this point where I felt I was nearing the end of the course. On the map there was one more waterfall to explore, but I needed to branch-off and follow another stream. I had reached that point.
   And there, obscured by the surrounding foliage, was this beauty.
As it was a hot day, and I had worked-up a sweat, what better way to freshen-up than with a refreshing cold rinse. I would have stripped-off but one never knows who is lurking in the bushes.
   Then, before I knew it, I had reached the end, and the track back to where I commenced this exploration. It was a 1.6km x 2-hour meander through some of the most magnificent scenery I have experienced, and it ended too soon. But it wasn't going to end there. I decided that I needed to return and, when completing the course, continue and explore some more. But I had to wait until the 'rainy season' had run-it's-course  before I could return.
                                                          . . . . and Beyond.

   Six weeks later I returned to route-307, this time by bus. After re-exploring the stream and it's waterfalls, I put my 'no plan, getting lost' idea into motion, and followed the stream further up the valley. I few hundred meters on and I reached the confluence of two streams then, on my right, I spotted a disused track.
Map Location.
   About eight hairpin turns later I stumble-across this abandoned bulldozer. Judging by the state of the track to this point, any chance of returning this machine to civilization would be near to impossible, that's if  someone went to the expense of hiring a heavy-duty helicopter.
    Some more bush-bashing, some more walking in circles, and I am again reunited with a track. Of sorts. And, before I know it, I emerge at this clearing. Thanks to my friends translation, I am informed that this is the highest point in Joyo City. As this site isn't marked on the map, and I am without my G.P.S. device, I am unable to pinpoint my exact location.
   Five minutes on and I reach another summit, and another junction. As it's closing-in on midday, I decide to take the weight off my feet, and break for lunch. I still don't have the foggiest idea where I am, but hey, that's what I like about my 'no plan, getting lost' outings. The usual fare - curry, bread-rolls, banana and washed-down with cafe au-lait.
Map Location.
   Not far from my lunch site, I arrive at another summit and suddenly I know where I am. I have arrived at Gonzan, or Mt Ushitoriyama. I was last here about 2-months ago on my Ujideka Revisited  excursion. Wanting to stay with my original plan, I descend from here in search of another track to get lost on. And I didn't have to wait long.
   About 500-meters on, after crossing another familiar track, I re-entered another forest. Then the weirdest of things happened. Suddenly, on the ground in front of me, were these two drinking vessels - Japanese tea-cups? Sake cups? Maybe the latter. As I was admiring them ( I have this fondness for Japanese pottery) I got the feeling someone was looking over my shoulder. One never knows what is lurking in the forest. 
   Behind me, partly obscured by a tree, was this interesting collection of religious icons, well the seven at the rear anyway (I'm not sure about the front two). Enquiries revealed that I had arrived at, what was once, the village of Taga-Niita. Erected in the mid-Edo Period, the village was deserted in the early- Showa Period. The statues at the rear are called Rokutai Sekibutsu and were carved 1771.
   Moving-on from here I encounter one more summit and, from here, it's all downhill (no pun intended), as the track & markers suddenly become nonexistent. In situations like this I keep an ear out for running water - when hiking in such environments, the chance of their being a stream nearby is high - and, before long I am rewarded with a crystal-clear stream that brings me to a unsealed and rocky road. Recognizing it as the road I had crossed-over an hour-or-so earlier, I knew I wasn't far away from civilization. In this instance, the town of Ida. From here it was an hours walk to my station, and my return home. A good hot shower, a lovely dinner, and a few cans-of-beer topped-off what was another great day. 
   The remains of the village of Taga-Nitta has got my curiosity juices running and am planning a return visit, this time on two wheels, and what lurks amongst the forest in the area. So, until next time, Sayonara.

Images of Kamodani-no Taki. 

Video of Kamodani-no Taki.