November 26th, 2018
Jeremy and I hiked up Mt. Raizan (meaning Thunder Mountain), the first time we ever climbed a mountain by ourselves.
Dad dropped us off at the starting point, and from there we were on our own.
“Hey, Josh, do you remember this place?” asks Jeremy, nicknamed Jay.
“Uh, I don’t remember, because it’s been like ten years since I climbed this mountain,” says I (This was the third or fourth time I climbed Raizan).
We were walking up a steep slope with many fallen trees, where there weren’t any visible paths.
“I have a baaad feeling about this,” says Jay.
“Don’t worry, Jay,” says I, “As long as we go up, we’ll reach the top!”
A few breaks, some snacks, and essential beverages helped to give us stamina on the way.
“There! I see a path!” says I.
“Yes, that’s great!” says Jay.
“What if we get to the top and find out that, all along, we were climbing Mt. Fuji?” says I, jokingly.
“Yeah,” says Jay, “that would be weird, wouldn’t it?”
“OK, Bro, follow my lead!”
But later did we know we were on the wrong track. We were walking along a ridge when we came across a sign that had an arrow pointing back the way we came that said, in Japanese, “30 minutes to Raizan”, and on the other side of the sign, pointing straight ahead, the words, “60 minutes to Iwarayama”.
And right next to the sign, a pole that had this engraving: Fujiyama.
“Well,” says I, “I guess we reached Mt. Fuji after all!”
“Call Dad,” says Jay, “he’ll know what to do.”
And so I called, and he told us to go back the way we came, to the direction of Raizan.
Approximately 30 minutes later, thanks to God, we successfully reached the submit of Raizan – 955 meters.
After congratulating each other, we informed Dad and Mom of our reaching the goal, and ate our lunch, which consisted of onigiris (rice balls), sandwiches, chips, and candy.
Although the air wasn’t very clean, with the PM 2.5 (particulate matter), we were able to see the great view from the top.
“Well, buddy,” says I, “are you ready for the climb back down?”
“Sure!But the REAL question is… are YOU ready?”
“Er, sort of.”
But this was only the beginning of our troubles…
“Ah! Now there’s a pathlike path!” says I. “We were supposed to use this one in the first place!”
“I wonder why we didn’t see it before,” says Jay.
Down, down we climbed, watching our steps so that we won’t go slipping don the slippery slope. The dirt was a little soggy because of the rain that fell the day before.
“Whoops!” says I as I slipped and tumbled to the ground. “Be careful, Jay, because it’s pretty soggy.”
“Are you alright?” asks Jay, helping me up.
“Yeah, I think s…” says I as I looked upon the tiny scratch on my hand. “Oh… owie…”
We proceeded the downward climb, chewing on muchies on the way.
“Hey! Where’s the path now?!” says Jay. “Don’t tell me we missed it!”
“Hmm… maybe we’re too much to the right. Perhaps we must go left.”
That was when we came to a stop at a cliff, with a river down below.
“Oh, no!” says I. “Is this is a dead end or what?”
“I was following you!” says Jay.
“Well, let’s not lose our wits now; let’s go left.”
But that turned out not as good as we had hoped.
Tree branches scratching our legs and hands, natural obstacles pausing our steps, energy not so often exerted being used at this moment, and slippery ground taking away our footholds, we hacked our way thorough the menacing forest. I must say I was getting a little panicky.
But then we remembered that God is watching us at all times, and that He will help us if we trust in Him.
“Dear Heavenly Father,” we prayed, “please help us find our way out again. We ask for Your help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!”
A glimpse of light was visible from some trees in the distance.
“Hey, Jay! This way! See the light? That’s the way we should go! That light means that we are heading towards the outside of the forest!”
But when we got to the opening of the trees, we found out that the place was unfamiliar.
“I-I thought that maybe this was going to be one of the places we came across on our way up!” says I, in a gloomy tone.
“But, Josh, is that a road?” says Jay, pointing straight ahead.
I looked in the direction of Jay’s finger, and sure enough, there was a road!
“Yes, yes, that’s the road! It’s not the way we came, but it’s better to go this way than to go back into the woods to search for the right path. We got lost too long already.”
So we set off towards the road, brushing through tall grasses, trodding on the rocky path, and going over a small stream. In front of us were two wooden poles.
“Well, Jay,” says I, “let’s go.”
We walked between the two wooden poles, and we were on the road again, and we escaped the forest’s cruel claws.
We let out sighs of relief, and prayed to God, saying thank you to Him for helping us from our plight.
I took out Dad’s phone and called Dad and Mom, saying that we got lost, and told them our current location.
Then about ten minutes later, we could see a familiar blue car coming towards our direction.
Pretty soon, Jay and I were sitting on our comfortable seats of our family car, telling Dad and Mom of our adventure on Mt. Raizan.
雷山 － ９５５ メートル