Mount Tsukuba

Mt. Tsukuba is, I suppose, my local mountain. It is the nearest large hill of any size and, because of it's almost stand-alone aspect, it feels bigger than it is, and it's a climb well worth the views it affords.

It's 40 minutes and a couple of transfers from my house to Tsukuba Centre. From there it's another 30 minutes by bus to the Tsukubasan Shrine and the start of the walk. The bus (720 yen one way), perhaps unsurprisingly given how close this hill is to Tokyo, was pretty full. It was a weekday, so it was a senior crowd. In fact, until I boarded, the average age on the bus must have been about 'dead'. Luckily, me getting on, brought it back down to just under that.

One thing I will say about the more, shall we say, 'seasoned' hiker, is that they are not in any way shape or form ill-equipped. Except that they are. What I mean is, they're ill-equipped because they're over-equipped. You name it, they've got it. Or rather, you name it, they've got them! 'It' and a back-up. One guy was particularly well turned out. All tech fabrics and equipment, top names too, and all brand spanking new. The same guy, I noticed later as we walked from the bus towards the shrine, appeared to have no less than 4 walking poles. He walked with 2 and had 2 others strapped neatly to his Millet day pack. He had a back-up pole and he had a spare back-up pole; I was impressed. I was even more impressed when I saw a top-of-the-range Mammut X-Sun head torch in the mesh pocket of his rucksack. Obviously he was expecting to still be on the trail at dusk. Respect.

Anyway, they set a fairly brisk pace on the short slope up to the shrine, and along to the trail entrance, adjacent to the cable car station. I was just thinking that I would be having company all the way up the mountain when suddenly, without reason, as we approached the trail entrance, the whole bunch of the bone idle, over-dressed, lightweight, poseurs peeled away to the cable car. Wha...?

At first I was shocked and then I thought about it... of course they were taking the cable car, there's no way that people of their age can be expected to carry that amount of gear up a mountain. It stands to reason - they're just using their heads, it is after all how they managed to live so long.


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