Patience on the Mountains

Yesterday was a real test of patience, but it was a good one.

We were climbing Murayama Hayama. We meaning a group of amateurs from the city of Sagae, the Sagae Alpine Club, and a group of elementary school students on a sports team excursion.

As you’d imagine, the Sagae Alpine Club were pretty good hikers. One of the dudes in his 70s had even been to the Himalayas multiple times.

The elementary school kids, on the other hand, were far from what you’d call avid hikers. At the end one of the boys said he’d always had an image of hiking to be strenuous and boring.

Murayama Hayama has a few peaks once you reach a long ridge, and has a few areas you need to climb vertically up huge rocks. For experienced hikers, this is just a matter of course. For inexperienced hikers, it’s a matter of holding up everyone else as you climb up and down each section one person at a time.

Needless to say, our climb was interspersed with extensive periods of breaks. For someone like myself who likes to power on up mountain trails like these, it all got a bit much at times.

But I didn’t let it get to me one bit. We had the whole day to enjoy the mountain. These kids were just reminding us of that. It also meant ample opportunity to get photos, and Murayama Hayama is one such mountain where this is a huge advantage.

But most of all, that same boy at the end who said he thought hiking was strenuous and boring, said he thought that, but having seen the shrine at the summit, and having been able to walk the 11km with his friends, now had a completely different view of the mountains as a challenging yet fun location.

All in all it was a very productive day on the mountains, made all the more better by a bunch of elementary school kids.



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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan

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