I haven’t done any serious hiking since last September when I climbed Mt Fuji. Today I changed that, as my friend invited me to climb with him to the summit of Mizugakeyama in Hokutoshi. There’s a really big, free, parking lot at the head of the trail with restrooms which was nice. Another plus was that the majority of the hike is shaded in a heavy evergreen forest.
It was a long hike but I feel alright considering I haven't hiked since Mt Fuji last September. I still got a beating by underestimating the trail. The majority of the trail is an uneven, windy slope, full of rocks and large stones. It looks great but takes a toll on my feet even with proper shoes on. My quads felt like someone whacked them with a bat all day, for the next 4 days!
The last 400 meters or so aren’t too bad but there were a few spots where I had to use climbing ropes/chains that were provided by the city that maintains the trail. The trail its self isn’t that well marked, not because it’s written in Japanese, but more that it’s marked by red ribbons tied to branches on the way up. If you aren’t paying attention, I could see people easily losing their way.
Alas, there were too many clouds when we reached the summit so we couldn't really see the valley below or Mt Fuji this time. The ironic part was that it was clear once we got back to the car. Well, anyhow it was a great hike. I wonder if I’ll squeeze in another before fall rolls in.