The Horses Mouth by tyndale


									                                                                The International Outdoor Club

     The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV, Number 6                  September 2006             Newsletter Editor: Josh Wilson
                             IOC website: http://

                                                 Looking out towards the South Alps from Yarigatake

Well IOCers, summer has drawn to a close, the weather has finely taken a turn for the cooler. Now
that everyone is back from their summer vacations, we can look back on our fun summer while
looking forward to a fall full of outdoor fun. I for one am looking forward to a few more summery
hikes before heading out to see the autumn colors.

Don’t forget that the annual IOC Autumn Camp is coming up. You can find details about it in the
“upcoming events” section. Don’t forget to let Yuri and Yuka, our wonderful event organizers,
know you’re coming.

Peace, good hikes, and I’ll see you out there-
A note about the cartoons you find in the newsletter. I don’t draw those, I download them
and then occasionally edit the text. The one that I most commonly use is “Calvin and
Hobbes,” a comic strip drawn Bill Watterson until 1998. I’ll be more careful about crediting
them in the future.
                                                                             The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                                                            September 2006

                                  This Month’s Mouth

           Munich Germany                               July 30th-August 5th
           Minhao and Estella took a trip to Germany to meet a former
           IOC member, Frank, and climb the Bavarian Alps.

                                                                         page 3

           Kiyotaki Swimming                                           August 6th
           It was hot hot hot and fun fun fun! Rie tells us all about it.

                                                                        page 12

           Mt. Ibuki                                            August 20th
           Yuka and Benoit write about the trip they took with Yuri and
           Kutiko to Mt. Ibuki.

                                                                        page 13

           Daisen Challenge and Hiruzen Cycling                July 28th-30th
           Kei lead a trip to Daisen, and what an adventure it was…

                                                                        page 15

           Upcoming Events                          page 18
           See what’s coming up next!

           Club Information                         page 19
           Information about the IOC.

                                                                    What are YOU looking at?

           Coming up Next Month:
           The Ups and Downs of the Tateyama to Kamikochi Traverse
           Josh and Eric repeat Benoit and Yoshimi’s epic six day hike
           through the North Alps. Read the review here in next month’s

                                                                              The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                                                             September 2006

Munich Trip                                                               July 31st – August 5th
Leader: Frank
Participants: Minhao and Estella
Report: Minhao

I arrived at Munich International Airport on July 31st evening. Estella and Frank were already
waiting for me at the airport. Estella is a long time member of IOC and lives in Kobe. She was
spending her summer holidays in her native England and decided to join me in this trip in
Germany. Frank is a former member of IOC, he lived in Mino, Osaka for six years until 3 years
ago, when he came back to his country, Germany. Since he is living in Munich and also an
avid hiker, he decided to climb the Bavarian Alps with us. Estella and I were going to south of
Munich to meet up with Dominikus in Oberau, while Frank will join us later to the hike.

We were going by train to Oberau, since I          track and signaled Estella to him. Estella
spoke no German, I had fully entrusted             went up to the huge German man, who
Estella with the role of navigating the            bore an uncanny resemblance to Santa
German train system. It was my first time in       Claus, and started to talk to him in
Germany and Europe, naturally, I was very          German. After a few minutes of involved
excited to be aboard the German train. It          discussion, Estella came back to me with a
was quite spacious and                             wide-eyed look. “We are in Munich
                                                   Central! Somehow we got on the wrong
                                                   train and went in the opposite direction!”
                                                   My jaws dropped immediately.

                                                   The next train was thirty minutes later, it
                                                   would take us one and a half hour to
                                                   reach Oberau and by the time we reach
                                                   there, poor Dominikus will have to pick us
                                                   up at exactly midnight. I dozed off on the
                                                   train; flight fatigue has taken its toll on me.
                                                   But somehow I got up before we reached
                                                   Oberau, maybe it was the fear of ending
                                                   up on the other end of the train track that
                                                   woke me up. It was good timing. I woke up
                                                   just to hear the train driver making the
comfortable, unlike cramped Japanese               announcement over the PA system “Blah
trains. I was fully settled in and prepared to     blah blah OBERAU”. We quickly put on our
enjoy my one hour and twenty minutes               backpacks and scrambled for the door.
ride to Oberau when the train stopped              Just like in Japan, train doors in rural
and everyone else on the train got off,            Germany do not open automatically but
leaving only Estella and I alone,                  there wasn’t any nice, easy-to-locate
nonplussed and surprised. “Why are we              buttons for passengers to press to open the
alone on the train?” I wondered aloud.             doors. We were staring at the door for a
Estella shook her head; she couldn’t give          few moments after the train stopped
an explanation either. We got off the train        before Estella realized this and said “Push
anyhow. We were in a large, dark and               the levers and open the doors!” Levers!
empty station. Rows of trains were lying in        They use levers in Germany instead of
their tracks silently, giant red beasts resting,   buttons, how European! Finally we
getting ready for the busy schedule                managed to open the doors, get off the
tomorrow. I spotted a lone white figure            train and were ready to greet Dominikus
under a bright lamp at the end of the train        who should be standing by the station…

                                                                          The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                                                            September 2006
except for the fact that there was no           It had begun to rain two days ago and it
station. Estella and I began to panic when      brought the temperature down in
the train started moving away. What were        Oberammergau, where Dominikus’ house
we going to do, being stranded in               is, to a cool 15 degrees centigrade. The
darkness in south Germany? “Shit!” And          summer had reached a sweltering 35
then the train finally bade us farewell, with   degrees centigrade before the rain
its last car plunging into darkness to reveal   started to pour. The original plan was to do
what was on the other side. Dominikus was       a three-day trek in the Bavarian Alps. We
standing there, right by the station which      would start off from Lake Eibsee and follow
was hidden on the other side of the train. It   a trail that will lead us to the Austrian side
finally dawned on us that we got off on         of the Alps, and then begin a steep climb
the wrong side of the train. I rushed up to     from the south side of the mountain up to
Dominikus and gave him a warm hug.              Zugspitze, 2964m, which is the highest
“Man, I’m so glad we finally found you.”        peak in Germany. From Zugspitze we will
What an adventure! We got lost before           descend to about 2100m, where we will
the actual hike, this was already fun even      stay at Knorrhutte. On the second day, we
before we started hiking in the mountains.      will make a long descend to Reintal valley,
(We later found out that trains in Germany      about 1100m and then climb up 800m to
will sometimes arrive in a platform different   Schloss Schachen. From Schloss Schachen
than the original one, but usually an           we will hike to Meilerhutte and stay for the
announcement is given, apparently we            night. On the final day we will climb up to
missed this announcement before                 another peak, Musterstein 2476m, from
boarding on the wrong train.)                   there we will descend to the foot of the
                                                mountain on the Austrian side and return
                                                to Dominikus’ house in Oberammergau by
                                                transport. However, potential bad weather
                                                had forced us to make changes to this
                                                plan. We decided that depending on the
                                                weather, we may have to make
                                                adjustments by cutting short the trek on
                                                the second or third day and come down
                                                the mountains earlier. After a hard
                                                morning’s debate on the trekking plans,
                                                we had the afternoon free. Dominikus
                                                suggested that we visit the famous castles
                                                Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. It
                                                took us twenty minutes to drive to the
                                                castles, on the way Dominikus explained to
I woke up the next morning feeling
refreshed, after a much needed rest in
Dominikus’ cozy bed that he had
generously offered me. We had a
sumptuous Bavarian breakfast of
homemade nutella, cheese, bread and
foie gras, prepared by Dominikus’ mother,
Sylvia. Sylvia was a tall woman, with blond
hair, whom Dominikus takes after. Estella
and I made a proper introduction to the
host family at the breakfast table. We
exchanged pleasantries and talked about
how the idea for this trip was started in
Japan and also other stories about Japan.

                                                                          The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                                                            September 2006
us a little bit of the history behind the       fairy-tale castle every year. Fortunately,
castles. Neuschwanstein was built by King       the castle authorities have worked out the
Ludwig II and the nearby                        system of guided tour perfectly and we
Hohenschwangau was the castle of his            were able to enjoy the tour without any
parents. Ludwig was a king of Bavaria who       overbearing crowds. The tour guide spoke
was also a fan of Richard Wagner’s operas.      crisp British English which allowed us to
He was hugely fond of the fantasy stories       understand the tour easily.
depicted in the operas, and so he had           Neuschwanstein was designed to reflect
Castle Neuschwanstein built to try to fit to    the days of medieval kings and knights
the fantasies. From afar, Neuschwanstein        even though building began in 1869. Each
does look like a castle in fairy land,          room was decorated with furniture and
Disneyland comes to mind immediately.           painting that tell stories of such as mythical
When we arrived at the visitor’s park, there    battles with dragons, knights seeking the
was already a long queue of tourists lining     Holy Grail and there was even a room built
up for the tickets, despite being a rainy       to look like a limestone cave, which is an
Tuesday afternoon. We paid eighteen             allusion to a scene in the opera
euros per person for a guided tour in           Tannhauser. The most impressive part of
English. Hohenschwangau was where               the tour was the Singers’ hall, which was
Ludwig lived and entertained Richard            the largest room in the castle, built to allow
Wagner. It was a relatively small beautiful     operas to be performed here. Ludwig was
castle, with the walls painted in yellow. The   a king but he did not possess the powers of
interior was decorated with frescos             the old kings of sending knights to noble
depicting stories of battles in the Romantic    quests. Such attention to details in each
style, where the most distinct feature
is the lack of blood in all the battle
scenes. It was also in here that
Ludwig spied on the progress of the
construction his dream castle using a
telescope. The tour in
Hohenschwangau took about forty
minutes and since it was still an hour
away to the next guided tour in
Neuschwanstein, we decided to
explore the surroundings. We hiked
up a nearby hill where Marienbrucke
was situated. Marienbrucke is a steel
bridge spanning across Pollat Gorge
behind Neuschwanstein, the bridge
was situated to give a clear view of
the castle with the surrounding flat
land and Lake Alpsee in the
background, making the castle appear to         room revealed unmistakably his desire to
look like the mythical castle of King Arthur.   be like the kings of yore. In the end, his
It was a popular spot for tourist to get a      attempt to realize his fantasies almost
picture of the castle and it was no surprise    bankrupted the government of Bavaria
to find the bridge fully packed with people     and his ministers had to declare him insane
when we arrived that the bridge. We had         in order to strip him of what remaining
to do a little pushing around before finding    powers he had as king. Ludwig died in
a nice spot for the camera.                     Lake Starnberg under mysterious
                                                circumstances, near Munich in 1886, after
Neuschwanstein is a hugely popular tourist      he was deposed by his government.
attraction and millions come to visit this

                                                                             The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                                                          September 2006
After the fascinating tour of Bavarian            to our rooms to get ready for the big day
history in Neuschwanstein, we returned to         tomorrow.
Dominikus’ house, stopping on the way at
the local grocery to buy some rye bread,          We first met Frank at Oberau Station at 7
jam and cereals for the hike. It was dinner       am, after which we proceeded on to the
time when we arrived back at the house.           cable car station by Lake Eibsee. The
We were greeted by Dominikus’ father,             cable car brings tourists directly to the top
Martin. He was a slim and wiry man; it was
obvious that he was also an avid outdoor
person. He had a thick, black mustache
that gave him a grave look but his smile
revealed him as a gentle and friendly
person. At the dinner table, we met
Dominikus’ brother. Korbinian looked
somewhat like his elder brother but had a
well-toned build and a killer smile that can
cause girls to swoon. He spoke fluent

                                                  of the mountain of Zugspitze, Estella joked
                                                  that perhaps she should wait for the rest of
                                                  us on the top by taking the cable car. But
                                                  it turned out to be a beautiful day and we
                                                  weren’t going to let Estella miss the fun.
                                                  The rain had stopped earlier this morning,
                                                  the sky was still half covered by clouds,
                                                  swathes of blue sky could be seen and the
                                                  air was fresh and cool. We began our hike
English with a slight Aussie twang,               up the Bavarian Alps. The hike started at a
apparently acquired while he was living in        mountain motor road winding up a gentle
Australia. It was a nice dinner gathering         slope, we left the road very soon and
and the company was excellent. The food           followed a foot trail. The trail led us through
consisted of weisswurst (white sausage),          forests and wide fields as we ascended.
pasta, cheese and wine. A little                  Eventually we could see Lake Eibsee lying
explanation must be done of weisswurst. It        below us, a clear, blue, little pond
literally means white sausage, and it is a
specialty of south Germany, including
Bavaria. It is made of a mixture of pork and
veal and also pork gut. It is boiled briefly in
water and then eaten as it is or dipped
with sweet mustard sauce. The soft
contents of the sausage are often sucked
out of its skin, because of its slightly exotic
source of meat and way of eating; it is not
eaten or even considered edible north of
the Danube River, a fact which the
Bavarians are particularly proud of. After a
long dinner table conversation, we retired

                                                                          The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                                                            September 2006
amongst the green sea of trees. Estella          steeper. There were many moments where
whipped out her camera and chirped               the trail tapered down to a thin line and
cheerily like a young English schoolgirl, “Oh,   we were practically hugging the side of
look at the lake. It’s so beautiful!”            the mountain and walking on the edge,
                                                 gripping tightly the steel cables hanging
We walked for a further thirty minutes or so     on the rock wall was the only thing that
and decided to take a short break on the         prevented us from careening over the
trail. Right in front of us was a magnificent    edge. Finally we came upon a mountain
view. A tiny mountain hut was surrounded         hut, Wiener Neustadter Hutte, managed
by the forest, a swath of green grass kept       by the Austrians. It was to be our lunch
the trees away from the hut, and the forest      stop before the toughest part of our
was in turned surrounded by the white and        ascent. We had some rye bread, cheese
gray mountains. I wondered who owned             and Frank offered us tiny red turnips, which
that hut — it existed in such a beautiful        was crunchy and quite tasty. The next part
setting as one could find only in a              of the climb required us to ascent a steep
picture— whoever lives there truly lives an      incline up to the peak. We had to wear
idyllic life.                                    helmets in case of falling rocks and the
                                                 only way up was to scale up iron bars and
                                                 steel cables that were hammered into the
                                                 face of the cliff, it was a continuous four
                                                 hundred meters climb up on ladders. As
                                                 dangerous as it sounds, it was actually
                                                 much easier than climbing up steps.
                                                 Climbing up on all fours is easier when you
                                                 can use your arms to lift your weight,
                                                 climbing up steps was more tiring as only
                                                 the lower body is working to lift the heavy
                                                 backpack I’m carrying. Even though it was
                                                 a long ascent, there were nooks and
                                                 crannies where you can rest and enjoy the
                                                 view of the vertical drop down the foot of
We continued on the trail and came to            the cliff. The climb was interesting as we
the German-Austrian border; it was               had to navigate through crevices and
remarkable for the fact that there was           tunnels, breaking the monotony of just
nothing there to mark the border except          climbing up a long ladder.
for an old, weathered wooden plaque
proclaiming that here is the border and
the Austrian colors of red and white
painted on a large rock nearby. The
Austrian side of mountain was chosen as
the path of ascent because it was fastest
way up to Zugspitze on foot. The mountain
trail quickly passed through alpine
vegetation to barren talus fields; large
broken rocks that were once part of the
mountain lay strewn on the slopes. There
were only small brushes and the
occasional lone pine tree. We had to
watch our step in case of kicking any rocks
down the precipice, setting off a mini-
avalanche and hitting climbers below. The        The climb to the top was somewhat
trail became narrower, and the climb             anticlimactic. The temperature had

                                                                           The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                                                           September 2006
dropped to minus one degree centigrade           proper way to walk on scree. The trick was
but the peak of Zugspitze, 2964m, was            to allow the stones to slide and dig in the
crowded by tourists of all manner and            heel. Eventually the sliding will stop
forms. Many of them were wearing normal          because the heel gets deeper into the
street clothes with a jacket or coat, and        scree, and then the other foot can be put
were not breaking any sweat. Some were           forward. After the practical lesson on scree
serious climbers like us who took the real       walking I found it much easier to go down
way up the mountain, but we were few             and finally caught up with the rest of the
among the cable car crowd. The golden            group. On the way down, the sky cleared
cross marking the highest point stood on         up and finally showed its bright azure
top of a rock separated from the main            colors, we could see the surrounding
part of complex. After negotiating through       mountains clearly, it was a pity that this
the line of tourists we finally made it to the   didn’t happened while we were on top of
summit. The summit was mostly covered in         Zugspitze.
clouds and fog, so we couldn’t see the
landscape but we were nonetheless                We reached Knorrhutte after an hour and
happy to have finally arrived.                   half of trekking, having descended around
                                                 eight hundred meters from the summit.
                                                 Knorrhutte was a well-equipped mountain
                                                 lodge with all the necessary facilities for
                                                 weary mountaineers. The lodge also
                                                 served very good German dishes and the
                                                 waitress was friendly and cute to boot. I
                                                 told Frank that the waitress was very cute,
                                                 and then he told me about the history of
                                                 fensterln (pronounced as fen-shta-len).
                                                 Fensterln was the traditional way of
                                                 wooing a girl in Bavaria. A young man
                                                 would take a ladder with him to the house
                                                 of a girl and furtively plant the ladder next
                                                 to the window to her room, climb up the
                                                 ladder and hoping that she would open
We made a long descent to reach our              the window to allow him in and begin a
resting place at Knorrhutte. The descent         love affair. It was an interesting way to
turned out to be much more trickier than         know a girl and I thought may be I could
climbing up. Natural weathering
and erosion processes had
formed piles of tiny stones on the
slopes of the mountain called
scree field. The scree would give
way easily under my feet and as
a result I would slide down a little
with every step. I would try to
steady myself by stepping slowly
and gently and it only caused
me to lose my balance faster
and finally landing on my butt. I
floundered on the slope for
some time before Dominikus
noticed that I was lagging
behind the group. He came up
to me and taught me the

                                                                          The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                                                           September 2006
try it on the waitress. The next time she       The next stop was Schachen and it was
came to our table bringing our dinner, I        800 meters above us. The map says it will
introduced myself to her and she said her       take three hours to reach the top and
name was Rut (pronounced as root).              spending three more hours in the cold rain
When I mentioned about the Bavarian             gave pause to all of us. But Estella was
tradition of fensterln, she started laughing.   never one to back away from a challenge
“Nicht fensterln!” she said as she shook her    and she egged Dominikus on to agree to
head. I could see she was almost in tears       continue the hike. Frank and I chose to
from laughing. I guess that means I don’t       follow the lady’s wishes. Fortunately, it took
have to find a ladder tonight.                  just two hours instead of three. The aerie
                                                was in sight, sitting serenely aloft.
It started to rain the next morning, and it
didn’t seem to be letting up. Dominikus
said that we could decide to whether to
go to Schachen and stay in the mountains
for another night when we reach the next
rest point, Bockhutte. We had to descend
one thousand meters to the river valley of
Reintal. It was a long but easy hike. The
rain, however, did not stop. It continued to
drizzle for the whole of two hours that we
were on the trail. Even though we were
well prepared for bad weather, we still got
wet underneath our raingear. We were
glad to find that Bockhutte served hot
drinks and warm food, Frank insisted on         Schachen was the summer retreat and
having lunch in the hut to escape from the      hunting lodge for King Ludwig II. He would
cold. No one objected to that idea and          visit the mountain villa on his birthday in
we followed him into the hut. Frank             August every year. Although it looked like
ordered pasta while I had pea soup. The         an ordinary wooden house on the outside,
pea soup came with fresh German bread.          it was opulent and luxurious inside. We
I was surprised at how delicious the bread      entered the building and there were
was, it was firm yet soft and gives a           already two visitors waiting for the guided
pleasant chewing experience. Frank said         tour to start. Unfortunately it was only in
that it was just common bread, but it was       German and I tried to look interested at
best common bread I have ever had.              what the guide was saying. The first floor of
                                                the Schloss Schachen was the living
                                                quarters of Ludwig. Although simple in
                                                comparison to Neuschwanstein, the rooms
                                                were furnished with beautiful paintings and
                                                furniture of fine workmanship as befitting
                                                royalty. However, it is on the second floor
                                                that Ludwig’s taste for opulence was
                                                realized. The palace room was decorated
                                                with a fountain in the center, huge vases
                                                with peacock feathers, colored windows
                                                and furnished with sofas covered by
                                                brocade with Turkish designs. The Turkish
                                                Hall was designed with the idea of
                                                importing the oriental atmosphere into this
                                                remote mountain lodge. It is said that
                                                when the sun shines through the colored

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Volume XIV Number 6                                                             September 2006
                                                                  Schachenhaus, where no
                                                                  outside food is allowed to
                                                                  be consumed in the dining
                                                                  hall. Dominikus and Andreas
                                                                  were engaged in a heated
                                                                  exchange in fast and furious
                                                                  German. Although I spoke
                                                                  no German, I could see that
                                                                  Dominikus was trying to
                                                                  reason with the German
                                                                  cowboy to be more
                                                                  reasonable. Alas, no
                                                                  amount of reason could
                                                                  convince the irrational
                                                                  creature and we resigned
                                                                  ourselves to stop eating. The
                                                                  rest of the stay in the lodge
                                                                  was without incident but the
                                                                  little episode with Andreas
                                                                  fouled our mood. This was
windows, the whole room will light up as if        certainly not a place to recommend
it were of another world. At the end of the        fellow hikers.
long tour, Dominikus was shaking visibly
from the cold; Frank and Estella were also         We woke up early next morning at 7 am.
looking paler than usual. We originally            After some negotiation with the lady
planned to go to Meilerhutte, which was            owner (who was more reasonable than
about another hour away, but there is              her son), we were allowed to have our
another lodge just 50 meters away from             own breakfast in the patio outside the
Schloss Schachen. Dominikus was already            dining hall, but we had to buy a pot of hot
taking the lead to the nearby lodge. “I            water that was worth a princely 3.00 euros
guess we are not going to Meilerhutte              (most expensive water I had ever drunk).
anymore.” I wondered aloud. “You can go            We finished packing and moved out by 9
to Meilerhutte if you want, but this is as far I   am. The long and cold hike and the non-
go today!” rejoined Frank.                         stop raining were not too appealing to us.
                                                   We unanimously decided to take the
I was hoping that we would be able to              shortest route down the mountain and
meet the friendly owners of the lodge, but         finish the hike. It took us more than three
it turned out that the owners were                 hours to finish the descent to reach the
anything but friendly. It is common                bottom of Reintal valley. The rain had
practice to allow weary travelers to               finally stopped. There was a map at the
munch on their bit of ration in the lodge,         end of the forest trail that detailed the
except for some rare exceptions.                   trails of the Bavarian Alps. We took a
Dominikus and Estella were quite tired and         picture of the map with the help of a by-
hungry from the long hike up the top of            passer to commemorate the end of the
Schachen and were looking forward to               hike.
their lunch in a warm dining hall since they
didn’t eat any at Bockhutte, until the             There was still a little bit of hiking to do.
young owner of Schachenhaus by the                 Partnachklamm is a narrow gorge that
name of Andreas whipped out a toy gun              runs about 700 meters which is the natural
(or so I thought) and waved it                     conduit of Partnach river. A tunnel was
threateningly at us. Apparently, we have           blasted in the side of the gorge to allow
just flouted the golden rule of                    tourists to walk beside the river. This tunnel

                                                The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                              September 2006

is especially famous for the beautiful icicle
formations in winter. The tunnel was so
narrow at places that we had to press our
bodies next to the wall whenever tourists
came in the opposite direction. I was
fascinated by the fast flowing river
thundering right beside me. It was
mesmerizing to watch the currents, eddies
forming and dissolving in the flow. I could
almost touch the white foam spilling over
from the river, yet if I were to do that, I
would certainly be swept away instantly
and be crushed against the gorge like a
hapless doll in the water. Putting macabre
thoughts aside, I hurriedly join Dominikus
and Frank ahead of me while Estella was
still clicking away with her camera behind.
We finally saw the light at the end of the
tunnel, literally. We hiked a little
further beyond the entrance of
the tunnel and end up at the
Olympia skistadion, which was a
ski jump stadium built for the 1936
Winter Olympics. It was here that
Dominikus’ mother finally brought
us back to civilization.

                                                                                 The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                                                               September 2006

Easy hike and swimming in Kiyotaki, Kyoto                                               August 6th
Leader: Kuriko
Participants: Benoit, Fumie, Junko, Kaori Asada, Keiko Y, Ken, Koji, Mayumi, Yoshimi S, Yuka,
Report: Rie Yuko, Rie

Mt Atago, which is located 5km west of Kiyotaki river, became a place of pilgrimage with a
shrine at the summit about 1200 years ago. Some Japanese style hotels and a station were
built at Kiyotaki for people to visit the Atago shrine.

                                                       I put on my mask and snorkel and looked
                                                       under a big rock in the water. Yes, some
                                                       big fish were there! They were about 30cm,
                                                       and also there were lots of ayu (sweetfish)
                                                       too. I was excited as the fish were much
                                                       bigger than I expected.

                                                       After enjoying swimming and watching the
                                                       fish, we had a short hike to Arashiyama
                                                       station. On the way back, it was still very
                                                       hot, and I sweated buckets. I felt like going
                                                       back to the river and swimming again.

August 6 was a
perfect day to swim
in the river; strong
sunshine, blue sky
and noisy cicadas.
This was my second
time to swim at
Kiyotaki. I remember
how nice and cool
this river is.

As soon as we
arrived at our spot, I
had lunch quickly
and jumped into the
emerald green river.
The water was so
cold in spite of the
sunshine. I couldn’t
help screaming. Little
by little I got used to it and I was curious to
                                                       I definitely want to go back to Kiyotaki
see what was in the water.
                                                       again-it’s a great area to cool off!!

                                                  Got a good picture for the newsletter? Send it in!

                                                                                  The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                                                                 September 2006

Mt. Ibuki Hiking                                                                         August 20th
Leader: Yuri
Participants: Kuriko, Keiko, Yuka, and Benoit
Report: Yuka and Benoit

We were supposed to hike during the night to see the sunrise. But because of weather
forecast, we finally changed the schedule and meet at Osaka station on Sunday morning at
7am. We took JR to Ouminagaoka, changed to a bus to the bottom of Ibuki.

The weather was very hot! At the beginning, we walked in a forest in the shade, so it was fine.
But after half an hour, Keiko rapidly suffered heat exhaustion. She was sweating a lot and
preferred to go back. It was pity she couldn’t continue to the top. But she made a good
decision, because there was no shade anymore till the top, and it was getting hotter and
hotter... We all suffered because we didn’t bring enough water… So, you should bring lots of
water for this hike (it cost \250 for 500ml at the top!).

A long steep hike and no shade…                 3 beautiful flowers in front of the flower garden!

There were many hikers on the path going up or down. The path was steep, rocky and
narrow. My pants were totally wet because of sweat, but it looked like I peed in my pants.
They all laughed at me! Bouhhh! After a few breaks, we finally managed to get to the top.
There, it was incredibly crowded. It is a very famous sightseeing place and you can go by
car nearly to the top (on the other
side of the mountain). There were
several hundred cars in the parking
lot! Anyway, we enjoyed drinks, ice-
cream for me, and lunch together.

After lunch, the weather got cloudy
and a bit cooler. We decided to
have a coffee break before leaving.
Yuri met a nice guy at the coffee
shop who actually recognized her
from last year Ibuki hike! He was
even more than nice and offered us
the coffee for free!!
Then, of course, we enjoyed the
scenery and walked around to
                                                     A group photo at the top of Ibuki
                                                                             The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                                                          September 2006
watch the many flowers. We all took lots of pictures. The flowers had many different colors:
blue, red, yellow, white... Benoit tried the macro system of his new camera.

               <Ohanabatake> many kinds of flowers at the top of Ibuki Mt.

The downhill is not difficult but tiring because it’s steep. Poles may be useful to rest our
knees… But eventually, we arrived back at the bus stop and had ice-cream again. It’s so
good after a hike and a hot day! Later, we had dinner together at Kyoto station as it’s
cheaper to get off at Kyoto than going straight back to Osaka (see comments below).

JR Ticket Magic!!                                                            (Yuka and Benoit)
If you take JR on weekends, you should buy the tickets at a discount shop. For example, from
Osaka to Kyoto, it costs \350 (hirutoku-kippu) while the normal price is \540.
And when you go further than Kyoto, even if you cannot find hirotoku-kippu, it is cheaper to
buy tickets separately. For example, from Osaka to Ouminagaoka, the normal price is \2,210
(one ticket). If you buy a ticket from Osaka to Kyoto and pay extra when you arrive at
Ouminagaoka, it will cost \540+\1,280=\1,820!

15                                                                             The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                                                              September 2006

Daisen Adventure and Hiruzen Cycling                                August 25th -27th
Leader: Kei
Participants: Josh and Eric
Report: Josh and Eric

Our trip to Daisen began the night before, with a rousing send-off by Keiko, Yoshimi, Yuko, and
Kaori from a Sannomiya izakaya. At 11:00 we boarded a night bus bound for Yonago. Kei
nodded off to sleep soon after
we left, but Eric and I had the
bright idea to have a few more
drinks on the bus, and stayed
up well past our bedtime.

The bus rolled into Yonago
around “really really early,” and
we waited for a couple of
hours before boarding the bus
to Daisen. We got to the
trailhead at 8:30 ready to hike,
and lead by Kei, practically ran
up the mountain, summiting in
an hour and a half. Of course we had to pay the price in sweat,
it was such a hot day. The view of the surrounding fields and the
Japan sea was fantastic.

                                                                    Paying the price in sweat!

Halfway back down to the Daisen resorts we took a side trail going toward Zougabana. Looking
at the map, it looked as if we would have a tough but relatively short climb back up over the
ridge, then down the other side. When we reached the point below the ridge, however, we
discovered that the map makers had left out a key point –the trail was marked “down only,”
because it was supposed to be too steep and dangerous to climb up. Buoyed by our success at
the Daisen summit, we threw caution to the wind and went for it. It was a challenging climb –the
rocks on the slope were loose, and for every step we took upwards, we slid back a half-step.
Occasionally we knocked rocks loose and caused minor rockslides.
                                                                             The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                                                            September 2006

                                                  A couple hours of tough climbing later and we
                                                  reached the ridgeline where we were greeted
                                                  with more nice views. As a mist blew in we
                                                  hunted around for the descending trail, which
                                                  was ominously marked with a dotted-line on
                                                  the map (meaning a trail of questionable
                                                  quality). The narrow trail plunged down into a
                                                  steep valley. The path was unused, uncleared,
                                                  and thick with slippery mud. To make matters
                                                  worse, the plants along the edge obscured the
                                                  path, forcing us to choose our steps carefully.
                                                  The bright point was that the fields were filled
                                                  with late-season wildflowers, and the air above
                                                  them abuzz with bees and butterflies.
                                                  After an hour or so the trail ran into a
                                                  streambed. Where we had slippery mud
                                                  before, we now had slippery rocks and
                                                  puddles, one of which I found myself lying on
                                                  my back in after a careless misstep. Trees and
                                                  plants crowded the trail, and we constantly
                                                                                           these out
                                                                                           of our
        Going up the trail marked down.                                                    way. We
certainly getting our fill of adventure this day,                                          and
although it was tough going, it was refreshing to                                          get off
the usual manicured trails.

                                                   eventually dumped us out on a river bed. We
                                                   yanked off our shirts and boots, soaked our
                                                   tired feet in the frigid water, and sponged-
                                                   bathed away some of the grime. After filling
                                                   our water bottles we set off for what we
                                                   thought would be a short hike down the
                                                   riverbed, then up to a hut and out to

                                                After forty-five minutes of bone-jarring hiking
 Waterfalls along the riverbed.                 down the riverbed we realized we’d missed
                                                the hut. We hiked despondently back up the
river for 20 more minutes and discovered why: the unused, tiny old hut was all but hidden in the
undergrowth of the bank, and the only sign giving notice of the hut couldn’t be seen unless you
were standing right next to it. When we reached the hut our worst fear was confirmed: the

                                                                              The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                                                              September 2006
quality of the trail matched that of the hut. It would be a long hike out. With the light quickly
failing, we donned our packs and set out for the last two-hour leg of our hike.

After eleven hours of hiking, we found ourselves jogging down the last kilometer of the trail
trying to reach the road before dark. In the end we arrived at the trailhead just in time, bursting
out of the woods as the last of the light failed. Eric and I laid on the welcoming pavement of the
mountain road, drank a toast, and watched the stars come out, while Kei negotiated a taxi to
pick us up and bring us to our ryokan. The bath sure felt good that night!

After the thrills and punishment of the first day,
we decided to spend a relaxing day cycling
around Hiruzen. Eric and I pulled ourselves out
of bed at 8:00, but Kei had already been up
and walking since 6:30!

We treated Eric to the quintessential Japanese
biking experience: the mama-chari! We
enjoyed the view while cycling, an onsen, and
then a lunch of local yakiniku before getting
on the bus back to Yonago and eventually,
Osaka, where we ended the trip in style with
dinner and drinks at a Japanese fusion
                                                                      Real men ride mama-charis!
Thanks Kei for this great trip. A real adventure,
and one for the books!

                                                                                        The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                                                                       September 2006
Upcoming Events
These are some of the events we’ve got lined up for October. To find out more about these
events and others, contact the event leaders through the website.

IOC Autumn Camp                                                                                   Oct 14th-15th
      Leader: Yuri Takatura
      Co-leader: Yuka Horikawa
      Difficulty: *
      Place: Osaka furitus sougou seishounen yagai katudou center.
      We are going to have the annual IOC autumn camp!! Please send Yuri an e-mail to sign
      up. Hope to see all of you there :-)
      Dead line: the deadline for signing up is September 30th. If you cancel after
            October 9th, you’ll need to pay the cancellation fee.
      Cost: 3000yen for member, 3500yen for non-member. Cancel fee is 1000yen
             for member, 3500yen for non-member.
      Food: The Committee will prepare food for the Saturday night BBQ and
             Sunday breakfast. We’ll make onigiri for lunch on Sunday.
      Drinks: The Committee will bring beer, wine, soda, etc., but only in limited
             quantity (about two drinks person), so if you’d like to drink more, please bring it

      Day 1 October 14th (Saturday)                        Day 2 October 15th (Sunday)
      10:00 Meet at Hankyu Yamashita Station               7:00 Radio Gymnastics! (optional)
      10:18 Take a bus to Nose-no-sato. From               8:00-10:00Breakfast; make onigiri for lunch;
      Noseno-sato, Kei will lead hiking. The rough         have monthly meeting
      plan: kenbisan.htm
                                                           10:00- 14:00 Activities of some sort
      14:00 or before: reach campsite and have
      orientation (all of us have to take this from        14:00 Leave campsite
      camp site). Look around; decide what you             16:16 First bus from Nose-no-sato
      want to do for Sunday activity.
      16:00 Start preparing dinner
      21:00 Campfire and BBQ will finish
      1. If you would like to stay the night of Friday the 13th , Please reserve the site for yourself.
      2. We have booked the fourth lodge at the moment (second from the left http://www.o- ).
      3. Non-members please pay before September 30th. If you cancel before 4. October 9th,
      the money will be refunded except for the bank transfer fee.
      4. Hanyku railway timetable:
      5. Hankyu bus timetable:

October Meeting                                                                      Sept 15th
      The October meeting is scheduled for Sunday the               15th,   at the Autumn Camp (see above).

                                                                              The Horse’s Mouth
Volume XIV Number 6                                                             September 2006

Club Information

The Members
As of May 2006, we have approximately 60 members (35 from Japan and 25 from abroad),
including 10 new members. Fifty-five percent of the members are female and so 45% are male.

Meeting Schedule
The September meeting is set for Saturday the 9th. Estella will give a slide presentation titled:
"Climbing Mt. Kinabalu (4,095m) and close encounters with the 'wild man of the forest' in Sabah,
northern Borneo." For meeting time and location, please check the website.

Please check the website for club information, updated as often as possible by our webmaster,

Activity and Newsletter Submissions
Please send all articles for the newsletter to Josh at the address listed below, and send any
activity proposals or new events to Mayumi at the address listed below.

IOC Equipment
IOC equipment can be rented or borrowed from our Equipment Coordinator, Koji. At the
moment the IOC owns the following items: 5 pairs of snowshoes, 3 tents, 2 pots, 1 slide projector,
5 slide trays, 1 BBQ set, 2 BBQ grills plus stands, 1 emergency kit, 1 emergency shelter, 1 shovel, 1
whiteboard and 1 charcoal box.


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