Wednesday, August 28, 2013

EFY Photos Part 1

I had the opportunity to be a company counselor at EFY Japan in Nagoya a few weeks back. It was a great experience for the youth, as well as myself. I selected some of my favorite photos to share here. I took most of them, but a few are from others.


The English speaking counselors after our morning staff meeting

My company, #23, working on their cheer

Yoyo with our banner, after he finished defacing/enhancing it with his name. 

Another company's banner I really liked

Morning Devotional with our company

Morning gospel study

"The 5 Guys" from our company performing at the variety show

Whatever the Samuel Game is, I don't want to play it, and I certainly don't want to be the dude in the middle.

Me and my co-counselors of Company 23

Some of our kids hanging out

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Mt. Kumotori Hike

Derek, Brent, and I tackled Tokyo's highest peak, Mt. Kumotori, on Saturday. It's just over 2,000 meters. Long trails in and out to reach it. Many people stay the night at a lodge below the summit. We had planned to do a loop, but the trail we wanted to take in had been closed for 3 years due to a massive landslide. It has been left in disrepair since then. They also posted that a man had died trying to cross the washed out section. So yeah, we forged ahead anyway.

The trailhead. I believe Derek is pointing to the sign saying the trail is closed.

Just a short ways down is a beautiful camp spot with a stream running through. We spent 20-30 minutes trying to figure out where the trail continued from here.

Derek crossing the stream

It was rough going after that point. Many miles of traversing a thin trail cut into the side of the mountain. There were a lot of these rotting wood ladders placed across portions of the trail that had been washed out. And then there were simply washed away sections that we had to find our own way across.

Eventually we reached the section that was clearly the reason for the trail closure. A good potion of the mountainside had suffered a landslide. We couldn't see to where the trail picked up again from where we were. It would be a lateral rock climb/scramble across a steep face that ended with a long vertical drop to the canyon below if we were to slip. Since it was a landslide, many of the rocks and gravel were loose, which made for treacherous hand and foot holds.

Derek and Brent had a much easier time of it than I did. I'm afraid of heights and made my way across very slowly. It was not a pleasant experience. Derek took this shot from the other side, after I was nearly finished.

And here's one Brent took after we are all across. It's a shame we didn't get a shot of the drop below, which is what made it way more scary than it looks.

These trees had recently fallen across the trail.

Brent making his way across another rundown ladder.

Eventually reached the summit

A very tame deer near the top


I love a good cairn

We hiked through a lot of clouds

and flowers

I love this shot of a birch forest Derek took

The trail we took off the mountain was gorgeous, as you can see from these photos.

This suspended bridge hangs at the confluence of several rivers with some amazing waterfalls. 

Friday, August 02, 2013

Mt. Bukkasan

This is a late post for Mt. Bukkasan, a hike Derek and I did over a month ago. This was the infamous "leech hike", where we both were overrun with forest leeches.

View on our way up


Atop the lookout towers at the summit

Also at the summit

Misty descent

These leeches had no problem slipping through the seems in our socks to drain our blood. We found many more inside our shoes.