Screw It, I Did My Next Annual Mt. Hiei Hike 51 Weeks Early

This is sort of a continuation of the previous post, My Mt. Hiei Climb Challenge 2014, Part 2, that covered my 3rd annual hike up Kyoto's Mt. Hiei.

次の比叡山年次山登りは51週間早くしました。今回はカメラを持って行かなかった(アイホン以外)のでこの記事写真はまずい。御免。

Previous attempts:

  • The first year's hike wrecked me so much that it shocked me into getting in shape.

  • The 2nd year (last year's) was better but still quite a challenge.

  • This year's hike, two weeks ago, was much better almost to the point of easy, but giving the hike back down a try for the first time ended up killed my knees and ankles, leaving me in pain for a few days and sort of took the luster off what would have otherwise been a feeling of accomplishment.

So, I decided to do my fourth-annual hike 51 weeks early.

My goal was the self-satisfaction of doing the hike up quickly without feeling like I killed myself. I packed lightly: in particular, no camera except for the iPhone. It was overcast and the rain we'd had for a few days was threatening to return, but this meant that it was pleasantly cool when I departed home at 8:15am last Friday.

The walk to the trailhead normally takes 45 minutes, but I decided to jog it this time and so it took only about 24 minutes. Unfortunately, it seems that jogging has the same painful effect on my knees that downhill hiking does, so my knees were in pain before I even started the hike proper.

Muddy crappy iPhone photo, sorry この実記の写真はすべてまずいアイホンのやつです。ごめん。 -- Kyoto, Japan
iPhone 4S + iPhone 4S back camera 4.28mm f/2.4 at an effective 35mm — 1/20 sec, f/2.4, ISO 80 — map & image datanearby photos
Muddy
crappy iPhone photo, sorry
この実記の写真はすべてまずいアイホンのやつです。ごめん。
21-Year-Old Sign -- Kyoto, Japan
iPhone 4S + iPhone 4S back camera 4.28mm f/2.4 at an effective 35mm — 1/30 sec, f/2.4, ISO 64 — map & image datanearby photos
21-Year-Old Sign

The design looks quite old, but the sign itself, according to the date written on the post, is just 21 years old.

This next one looks to be quite a bit older, especially based on the font used for the writing on the post (which, unfortunately, lacks a date).

Even Older -- Kyoto, Japan
iPhone 4S + iPhone 4S back camera 4.28mm f/2.4 at an effective 35mm — 1/20 sec, f/2.4, ISO 64 — map & image datanearby photos
Even Older

It's the same design as the sign seen engulfed by a tree in The Mountain Claims a Sign, But Doesn’t Claim Me from a couple of weeks ago.

Halfwayish the shrine gate that marks about the halfway point, timewise -- Kyoto, Japan
iPhone 4S + iPhone 4S back camera 4.28mm f/2.4 at an effective 35mm — 1/180 sec, f/2.4, ISO 50 — map & image datanearby photos
Halfwayish
the shrine gate that marks about the halfway point, timewise

As I wrote in an earlier installment, it usually takes about 48 minutes to get here from the trailhead. This time it took almost 50 minutes, even though I felt I was faster. I'd paused a few times to text with friends about the hike, so maybe that took a few minutes.

Anyway, it's from here that the hiking becomes notably strenuous, with very steep ups and sometimes temporary steep downs. To the top this time took only 45 minutes, as opposed to 48 minutes the previous week and 70 minutes the previous year.

Unfortunately, it turns out that I really wish I had a real camera because the low overcast that I eventually climbed up into made for some really peaceful forest scenes. I tried to do a best I could with the iPhone, but the results are horrible.

Not Spooky just calm and peaceful -- Kyoto, Japan
iPhone 4S + iPhone 4S back camera 4.28mm f/2.4 at an effective 35mm — 1/30 sec, f/2.4, ISO 50 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Spooky
just calm and peaceful
Kyoto, Japan
iPhone 4S + iPhone 4S back camera 4.28mm f/2.4 at an effective 35mm — 1/40 sec, f/2.4, ISO 64 — map & image datanearby photos
Kyoto, Japan
iPhone 4S + iPhone 4S back camera 4.28mm f/2.4 at an effective 35mm — 1/30 sec, f/2.4, ISO 50 — map & image datanearby photos

It was nice. I had pretty much the entire mountain to myself. I met only two other folks on the way up.

“ Scenic View ” my goal for the hike -- Azalea Hill (つつじヶ丘) -- Kyoto, Japan
iPhone 4S + iPhone 4S back camera 4.28mm f/2.4 at an effective 35mm — 1/1400 sec, f/2.4, ISO 50 — map & image datanearby photos
Scenic View
my goal for the hike

There was absolutely no view this time, but the nearby photos link under the picture above brings you to photos I took on other more photogenic trips up here.

All told, from the trailhead to here — all pauses included — took 1h 37m. From the house it took a total of 2h 9m, beating the previous best set the week before by 23 minutes, and beating the previous year by almost an hour and a half.

In part 1 talking about last week's hike I noted that jeans aren't the best for hiking because they get hot and sticky, they're heavy, etc. So between last week's hike and this one, I bought a pair of Under Armor Heat Gear compression leggings, the leg version of the workout shirt I posed about in April.

They were fantastic. I threw a pair of old basketball shorts over them to preserve modesty, but they kept me cool and bug-free the whole climb.

Chillin' For a Bit -- Rest area near top of Mt. Hiei -- Kyoto, Japan
iPhone 4S + iPhone 4S back camera 4.28mm f/2.4 at an effective 35mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.4, ISO 50 — map & image datanearby photos
Chillin' For a Bit

I didn't linger long... I felt great and there wasn't anything to see, so I made the 12-minute hike farther up to a bus stop (yes, at the top of the mountain).

Where My Hike Ends -- Kyoto, Japan
iPhone 4S + iPhone 4S back camera 4.28mm f/2.4 at an effective 35mm — 1/1250 sec, f/2.4, ISO 50 — map & image datanearby photos
Where My Hike Ends

Some high-school kids got off a shuttle bus from a nearby temple, and I imposed on one to snap a photo of me.

Somewhat Elfish -- Kyoto, Japan
iPhone 4S + iPhone 4S back camera 4.28mm f/2.4 at an effective 35mm — 1/700 sec, f/2.4, ISO 50 — map & image datanearby photos
Somewhat Elfish

My clothes are certainly not the height of style, but they were great for hiking.

I was back home by noon, and two hours later I was at the gym taking one of the toughest workout lessons they have, in a room heated to 39°C (102°F) with 80% humidity no less.

家から午前時出発で、12時位帰りました。2時からジムで結構激しいレッスン(矢部先生のホットシェイプ)を受けました。満足気持ちでした。

I finally had my feeling of accomplishment.


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