THE DIRTY THIRTIES – S#!TBOIL

AUGUST 2007

#38 – MAKIHATA-YAMA

“Click.”

“Click.”

“Click.”

“Click.”

“Click.”

“Click.”

So much for the trusty, guaranteed for life Jetboil cooker.  All through August, the thing had slowly been losing its spark – that little bolt of static electricity camp stoves shoot into the heart of the gas in order to ignite.  Said gas, in a covered shelter, in a deserted campground below Makihata-san, began to form into a cloud around my head.

For the best part of ten minutes I had been clicking away furiously at the switch of the useless, tarted up piece of drain pipe, unfazed by the fact that I could lose and eyebrow or worse if the confounded thing sparked to life amidst the gathering propane cloud.  A campsite version of Russian Roulette.  I’d forked out a hundred and fifty bucks for the damn thing, one way or another it was going to serve me for a lifetime.

I threw the box into the scrub and spat venom, hissing like the embers of a campfire splashed with water.  I walked away, hands on hips to a narrow strip of asphalt road that entered the campground.  High over Makihata light wisps of cloud turned apricot as they caught the first rays of the sun.  I picked up a stone and hurled it into the grass after the matches and turned to face my adversary once more.  I shook myself down, expelling all fury from my soul and returned, a thin veil of calm – tenuous but holding – surrounding me.  I was not going to be beaten by that piece of inanimate shit.

“Click.”

“Click.”

“Click.”

“Click.”

“Click.”

Pause.  Deep breath.  “Hold it together, boy.”

“Click.”

“Click.”

“Click.”

“Click.”

“Click.”

“Whoosh!”  Ignition!

Yooou ignorant piece of shit!” I spat in disgust.  “About fuckin’ time,” it was getting no gratitude out of me.  For all I cared the goddamned thing could reincarnate as a Delhi hospital bedpan once its Lifetime Guarantee expired.

I slowly cooled down as the water boiled.  My gut untwisted and I filled it with some semi edible two hundred yen noodles and a pack of cashews then, at last, turned my attention to the more pressing matter at hand: Makihata.

Like on Shari-dake in Hokkaido one of the courses up the mountain follows a stream or ‘sawa’ virtually to the top.  I headed for the watercourse option where two streams slice down either side of the magnificent Tengu Rock.  Any lingering frustrations leftover from the morning were relegated to distant memories as a fantastic scramble over the spectacular boulder laden course up the mountain ensued.

Beyond Tengu-iwa, with the sun finally finding its way down to me deep in the folds of the mountain, the trail left the sawa and led me up a painfully steep climb through the sasa on the right hand wall of the valley and finally to the top of Waremeki-dake, the western hump of the mountain.  There the scenery opened up and I took in the views across a wondrous landscape of rolling, verdant, sasa covered mountaintop.  A beautiful complement to the confines of the thrilling climb that led me there.  For the following hour, I ambled across the mountain, traversing the unmarked summit area and soaking up the sumptuous, sun drenched scenery.  Time flew and I reluctantly descended via the other half of the loop, over Mae-makihata and down into sun dappled forests awash with fragrant white flowers.

Back at the bottom I slowly broke camp.  Summer and my days wandering the mountains of Northern Kanto were nearly up.  Despite the grim moods that swept over me like summer squalls at times, it had been another wonderful leg of the journey.  One mountain remained on the agenda before I turned tail toward Tokyo’s bright lights and so did one more Maebashi Indian beast feast.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s