Woke up early and packed the last of my things for the trip to Mt. Ichizuchi. Went outside and met up with K-san, W-san, and C-san at 5:50 AM. There had been a slight change of plans, another person from the company, A-san, was joining us. Once all 5 of us had gathered, we jumped into A-san’s car and headed out to Ak-san’s house. On the way we stopped by a convenience store where A-san picked up an onigiri and proceeded to violate one of the company’s directives: “Don’t get distracted while driving.”
In spite of A-san’s blatant disregard for company policy, we managed to safely arrive at Ak-san’s house where the remaining 3 members of our expedition were. They were the aforementioned Ak-san, T-san, and Slimz (I forgot his name). Since Ak-san had a ginormous van, we split up our initial dorm group and headed for the mountain. We made another stop at a convenience store to buy some bentos for lunch.
Upon arriving at the mountain, our first task was to drive the majority of the way so we would have a chance at reaching the summit before work resumed on Tuesday. Unfortunately on the way up the mountain we discovered that C-san doesn’t handle windy mountain roads very well.
After a couple of stops for pictures and to give C-san a rest we arrived at the trail to the summit. A little after we began our hike, I realized I was outpacing everyone else in the group. I kept slowing down at first to stay with the group, but A-san told me to just go ahead. Aafter about 2 hours of walking we were near the summit of Mt. Ichizuchi. As we ascended the final steps towards the top I noticed that the path split in two.
Me: Which way do we go?
K-san: Hmm… Let’s see. [reading signs] The path on the left is a shortcut.
Me: Sweet, let’s go.
[I head to the left and climb up the rather steep stone steps. After about a minute I hit a dead end. I was facing the side of the mountain with a pair of chains dangling down.]
Me: Um… I don’t think this is a shortcut. I guess we should go back.
K-san: Yeah… it might be a bit harsh.
A-san: What’s up?
Me: We ran into a dead end, have to turn back.
A-san: What? Let’s do the shortcut.
[A-san proceeds to start climbing up the chain; K-san follows shortly after]
After hesitating a bit, I started climbing up the chain too. It was scary -_-;
The ‘shortcut’ was actually broken up into three stages, between each we walked along a trail for a little bit until we reached the next section. The third one was the scariest for me, it was a lot steeper and there weren’t really any footholds. So every now and then I was only hanging on with my arms -_-
Upon reaching the summit we had lunch and I bought a charm and a tengu keychain at the shrine that was setup there. We also made another semi-treacherous journey to a n area nearby that was a little higher than where we were situated.
After lunch we made our way back down the mountain at a quicker pace. When we got back Ak-san bought a couple beers so we could drink on the drive home (the driver didn’t drink). I fell asleep with a beer in my hand -_-