TWO FOR THE ROAD

DECEMBER 2012

#014 – ROKKO-SAN

#015 – MAYA-SAN

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On a cold, December morning, as the year drew to a close, we headed out Kobe way to Mount Rokko – the backdrop to the city squeezed in between mountain and sea.

A thin veil of cloud slunk across the early morning pale blue yonder as hikers milled outside Ashiya-gawa Station, one of the popular start points for heading up into the Rokko Mountains.

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We opted for a bus ride up into the hills, passing through suburbia that clung to precarious looking ground.  Memories of the Great Hanshin Earthquake still linger across Kansai, but I surmised the views out over Osaka Bay outweighed residents’ concerns of slip sliding away off the hillside.

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Warmed up with a vending machine can of hot coffee, The Missus, The Kid and I set off into the quiet, brown woodland.

Success came easy and within a couple of hours or so we’d topped out on Rokko, a mountain shoved upwards by near on half a foot when the Hanshin quake struck back in 1995.

“We can make Maya before nightfall,” I said double checking the map.  The way on would take us through the mountaintop township and, on a chilly, greying day like that, the sun nothing more that a cold white splodge in the sky, the prospect of hunting down a steaming curry rice was too much to resist.

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After said lunch was well settled in our bellies the walk to Maya-san was more tarmac trudge than anything else.  An uninspiring affair to say the least.  But, the fact we’d knocked off our first doubleheader was a spirit lifter nonetheless.

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Two years on the Kinkan trail, we quietly closed the ledger for the season.  The tally: 15 mountains down; a measly 117 to go…

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