Monday, May 19, 2008

5/19/08 Hiking Trip

Ashikaga is surrounded by mountains. I have a nice view of them from the window across from my desk at school. They are big and green from the abundance of trees, giving me a nice reassurance that somewhere under all the city pavement that nature is still doing fine.

I am from pancake flat Illinois, where the only reason that you can't see from one end of the state to the other is all the soybean dust in the air. I enjoyed gazing at the large formations, but they seemed so large as to be unsurmountable. If houses and roads can't make their way up these giants, what chance did I have?

Enter my Ashikaga friends. Mike in particular has become a critic of just about everything that costs money. In his ever expanding quest to have free fun, he stumbled on a pretty solid idea: mountain hiking. Its good exercise, its a good way to spend time together without spending cash, and its a pretty fun time.

The hike was a little over four miles with quite a few ups and downs. We soldiered our way up to a peak only to stomp back down the other side, and start over on the next one. The highest point we reached was around 1027 feet.

This shows a bit of what we actually walked. We entered the wooded area on the far side, then did a big horseshoe around Ashikaga Hospital, which is the big compound in the center. It was a pretty strenuous stroll. I took a water break or three.

When I wasn't gasping for air, I was posing heroically.

I was happy to spot a couple of interesting creatures that moved slow enough for me to get a picture. There were quite a few butterflies around as well, especially on the peaks of the mountains.

We spotted a couple of buses while we were still walking on street level. Mike was super excited about it. The buses were painted to look like neko no basu (literally, "cat bus") a character from one of Mike's most favorite geek cartoons. He might actually be a bigger nerd that I am.

The character from the show is a bit creepy. Giant cat body, with windows and a door to allow passengers access to its hollow interior. It has a caterpillar number of legs which it uses to run to its next destination. Super weird.

1 comment:

  1. The hiking looked great. Nice day. Good for you getting out there. I hope to hike soemtime when I visit Japan. I just have not had the chance yet.

    Those busses were Totoro busses. The cartoon is Totoro. My son loves that cartoon (so does my wife).