I am one of the newest converts to the
delights of hiking in the Kansai area.
Flashes of the pink cherry blossom as 
we walked and talked along the way.
Sanda Mt.Shiragadake 2003/4/13 日本語へ 

Paul Hendrieさん

I am one of the newest converts to the delights of hiking in the Kansai
area. Having been introduced to my first hike with the Kansai ramblers a mere 3 months ago, I now relish the prospect of going from grey Osaka with its grey clouds, grey buildings and grey suits to the glorious beauty of the Kansai countryside. This was the first hike of spring for the Ramblers, and
in the Sanda countryside the beautiful scenery was interspersed here and there with flashes of the pink cherry blossom as we walked and talked along the way.

The group was rather large, a surprise for the Hanami season, but then many people prefer to see blossom in the countryside than when sitting drunk under a tree in some Osaka municipal park!!!We couldnt have asked for more from the weather,with comfortable and warm sunshine all day, and the initial
route was very pleasant as we chatted happily in English and Japanese about life in general.
The route got pretty arduous after the first water break, with a stone staircase leading up to a tricky muddy section through a forest on the hillside which had a few people moaning about how atsui it was, and wishing
they had gone to that Hanami party in Osakajokoen instead after all.

The view from the top was well worth it, and our tired and stalwart bunch had lunch on the top of a summit overlooking glorious mountains and forests which allowed us to reflect in satisfaction over a bento and a bottle of water how far we had come and what a fabulous day it was.

The route down was a bit of a "knee-wrecker" in places, and there was a
least one muddy bottom on the route down from the summit as people grappled with the slippy surface. After that, the route became more gentle, with a fantastic little jaunt through a forest that had huge trees with big leaves that made the sun shine through in dappled patches, and the sound of streams
in the background as we continued to chat. Now thats why I go hiking.

After that, people went their separate ways again, some people, like me, choosing to go and soak their tired muscles in the roasting hot public baths.This is now how I always finish a hike.After the initial embarrassment
of getting butt naked in front of a bunch of Japanese strangers,Im now a bit of a sento addict, and I could write an entire website simply on how good sentos are. They are just ace.

After the heavenly sento experience people retired as usual to an Izakaya for a drink, a meal, a laugh and a relection on the days events. This time, we were regaled by a very entertaining and unusual member of the Osaka dental community who had us all in hysterics.

I always look forward to these hiking days, because they never fail to be thoroughly enjoyable, and they include so much other than just a walk in the countryside. From my own experience, I know that newcomers are always welcome. The hiking days are some of the best days I have had in Japan so far. Youll certainly be seeing me at the next one."

Paul Hendrie