Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Takarazuka Hike

Hey all! Aaron here. This is a really delayed post, but a good one, so bare with me. This was probably one of the coolest things we've done in recent times, and produced a lot of great photography, as it was a scenic hike. I've actually been very sparse with the photos, but I think you'll get a good feel for our visual and physical journey along an old abandoned railway.

Little background: This is in Takarazuka, which is a more rural town near Osaka. The whole hike is on an old railway bed, which makes it flat (not counting the countless rail ties we walked over and upon.) It cuts through a pretty awesome mountainous valley.

Believe it or not, this is actually where we got off the train. This is the station. It's on top of a bridge that crosses the very valley we would be hiking through. Convenient, huh? If you notice, I shaved my mustache off that day, for the first time in years. They told me it looked weird, so I grew it back immediately.

Here's Mana, sporting her prized panda fanny pack. She truly puts my look to shame with this most sacred and powerful of accents. I dare not comment on what's happening in the background. Anyway, this next shot is what we could see from the station. It further drove our appetites for adventure.

Pretty nice.
Here's one from a boulder that jutted out into the river a ways down the trail. Because this was a train bed, there were actually several tunnels we had to pass through, some of which grew completely pitch black at points. Here's the exit to one of them.

Ooooh, tunnely.

This was the old bridge for the train. There was an iron platform just to the right that we had to walk across. It was quite a ways down, but my problem with heights proved no problem. It was an awesome sight.

Here's the whole crew, accept for Ben Sel, who had wandered off at this point. From left to right, we have: Kendra, Ben, Ben's GF Akina, Mana, Langdon, Andrea, Abel, and Katherine. That means I took this picture. What a good looking group of nerds.

That's just creepy.

Nice shot of the valley.

We climbed down from the train tracks to the riverbed for a picnic. It was really breezy, but the food, company, and views were spectacular.

Here's a couple of them contemplating the view following our meal.

Ben is apparently the king of the world in this photo. This was actually my favorite spot on the hike. We found a way down from the bank, and climbed out onto this massive boulder. There were rapids all around it, and you could see some killer views of the river from there. What an adventure.

This is sort of random, but just as we were ending the hike, Mana found an abandoned fold-up bicycle. She decided to let me keep it, since I was devoid a bike, and the thing folded up for easy passage on the train. Plus, we didn't live all that far away. I've since fixed up the bike and find it quite useful. Anyway, here's a picture of Mana giving me the bike in exchange for the fanny pack, which we had actually already given her for Christmas. It was a fitting way to end an out of the ordinary sort of day. Hope you liked the photos!

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