It is still taking me a long time to pack up, and I'm not sure if I am even going to get better at it. I just have so many things to pack up. Anyways, after I was eventually ready, I started the trek up Mt Sekirozan. Lots of woods:
Beofre I knew it I was down and up again on the second mountain of the day Mt Ishiyama. When I got to the top there were a bunch of elderly men hanging around taking photos of butterflies. They all had really sophisticated cameras with huge lenses. A butter fly would fly swirl around and they would all go perfectly still and wait for it to land on something, then they all started furiously snaping shots like their life depended on it. I decided to cook some lunch, but knocked my the stove and pot over half way through cooking and burnt a hole through my sweater. I was not happy.
I got it right second go and as I was eating lunch some of the men came over and were curious as to what I was doing there. I explained to them I was walking to Osaka, which they were a bit shocked by, but they then gathered around and started planning my next leg of the journey for me. I love how considerate the Japanese often are, like I didn't even ask for them to help me, but they just did anyway. There was a signboard with a map of the trail on it and soon they were explaining to me where the mountain huts were, which ones were good, and which ones to avoid. This section has several mountain huts in it at which you can stay for free, and soon the men had decided on one for me which I could get to by the end of the day that they assured me was new and "fresh" as one man kept repeating.
I said thanks and goodbye and descended to the town of Aonohara where I stocked up at the local 7 Eleven with food and had some lunch. Not sure if I have mentioned this already but Japanese convenience stores stock a whole range of delicious pre-made meals that are delivered daily. They heat them up in the microwave and you take them outside to the benches and eat them up. They even have calorie counts on all of them, so you can do the opposite of most people and pick the most energy filled meal they have. In this instance I made the mistake of not eating enough though and felt it when climbing the next mountain. New rule: Whenever you get to somewhere that has food, take no chances and just eat as much as you can.
The last two mountain for the day were Mt Yakiyama and Mt Kibigarayama, with no descent in between them, just a solid ridge line. My legs were getting fairly sore by this point, and I was having a fair few breaks. I would go a few hundred metres up, then have another break. It was slow going, but I was rewarded in the end by a stunning environment at the top. All the tree up the top had no leaves whatsoever, which is not special within itself, but then the wind started blowing a gale, and trees started moving, combine that with the view I was getting of the surrounding area and it just all felt really special.
After a bit more walking along the ridge line I finally came to the mountain hut:
There were already three people in there, two of them trying to sleep and an old fellow who had been climbing mountains in the area for years and gave me lots of advice on the surrounding area. The mountain hut is little more than a room with a raised section to sleep on and some tables and chairs, but it is still very very nice to be spending a night indoors.
More people are arriving so I am going to go and have a chat with them.