I have never really hiked up a hill or mountain. Before, the thought of hiking up a mountain would never have crossed my mind. The only way you would have gotten me up a mountain would be to tell me of the delicious meals that I can expect at the top of the mountain. I would be the first in line to climb up then, although I can guarantee you that I would end up last to get to the top.
I remember that trip to Japan as one that was free and easy during my dark, dark days of working horrible hours. I could not even spare time to plan the trip, I left it to my friend to do it instead.
Looking up Nunobikino Waterfalls in Kobe, I realised that the waterfalls are on Mt Rokko but she assured me that it was supposedly just around the corner from the train station in Kobe and should not take that long to reach the waterfall.
The fact is that, the entrance leading to the waterfall was indeed around the corner from the train station. What she failed to realise was that the waterfall was actually a series of waterfalls, the higher we climbed.
Yes, that is right. Climbed.
What was supposed to be an easy walk to the waterfall turned into a 3 hour hike up the mountain. Not only that, we were also the least prepared for a hike up a mountain. I was wearing winter, furry boots and my friend was wearing ballet flats.
Not to mention. ALL…THOSE… STAIRS….
Our muscles were aching, we were sweating like crazy and we (or mostly, I) were huffing and puffing our way up all those stairs.
As if we were not going through enough torment, we kept bumping into curious elders, casually walking past us briskly up or down all those stairs while we were struggling to get to the top.
They all greeted us happily and briskly overtook us.
Right. We tried not to take note how fast they overtook us.
So we climbed, we cursed, we laughed at ourselves struggling up those stairs, and we kept at each other till we continued.
After the long climb, we finally reached a wide and peaceful reservoir.
Exhausted, we collapsed to rest and catch our breath, euphoric that we finally made it to the top.
Really? Did you think it was that easy?
Nope. Scratch the thought away.
We were not even at the top of the mountain.
It turned out that the water was a dam and we would have to climb beyond this reservoir of water to climb to the peak of the mountain. And the waterfalls? Apparently, we had already passed Nunobikino Waterfalls earlier but we had just continued climbing up instead.
So, do we laugh or do we cry?
We just looked at each other dumbfounded. All those effort and pain and we could not even claim all that glory of reaching the peak. Silently and unanimously, we made our way down. We were definitely not stupid enough to continue.
For all the effort we used, we paid for it the next day with our sore muscles. My soles were so sensitive that it was painful to stand in the beginning. Needless to say, travelling for the next few days required some creative thinking, especially having to negotiate all the stairs in subways.
Since then, we have learnt our lesson and avoided any mention of stairs and mountains in the same sentence, ever again.
Till today, my friend refuses to hike up any mountain if stairs are involved.
For myself, this was a memorable “easy” first hike indeed, even if it was accidentally undertaken.