Since the year of the Sheep is now in full swing, I’d like to take a little time to reflect over the past year as well as touch on a few goals for the upcoming year.
As you may remember, the beginning of 2014 had me sitting at mountain #70 of the Kansai 100 quest. I had made it a goal to reach #90 by the end of 2014 and almost got there. The first half of the year I was struggling to climb mountains while still undergoing my treatment for tuberculosis. If you thought hiking in the winter was taxing, imagine doing it while pumped full of antibiotics. Still, I persevered and managed to knock off 5 snow-capped peaks during the winter. It was a much better start than 2013, which found me stranded in a blizzard with mild frostbite. I took a much more conservative approach, only hitting mountains which has prior foot traffic to allow for no guesses when it came to route finding. The GPS also helped in the decision making when things were not so clear.
Once the antibiotics were finished, I slowly returned to normal and found a bit of an extra kick in my step, checking 10 peaks off the list before summer had ended. From there, the peaks became further and further isolated from Osaka, making planning a bit trickier, but managed my 15th peak (and #85 overall) by the beginning of September. I had only 5 more mountains before my goal was met, but nothing left on the list was possible without an overnight stay or relying on someone with an automobile. Instead, I knocked a few peaks off of the Kinki 100 list just for good measure. I doubt that I’ll finish the Kinki Hyakumeizan, but some of the mountains on the list looked interesting and not too difficult to access, so I took the plunge.
On October 19th, I reached peak #87 on the list, where things just kind of stopped. It was as if I was listening to a Dead C record on a locked groove and I just couldn’t move forward. Plans were made for mountain #88 but were thwarted numerous times by the weather. Finally, a clear weather window presented itself but I had come down with pneumonia and it was game over for 2014.
So now I sit at peak #87 and only 3 mountains left before I hit the magic #90, but I have loftier goals for 2015. For not only do I plan on finishing the Kansai 100, I plan on completing the Japan’s Highest Prefectural Peaks (the highest mountain in each of Japan’s 47 Prefectures). Luckily I’m already at mountain #43, so I only have the prefectures of Ibaraki, Saitama, Fukui, and Niigata left on the list, so it should be relatively easy to finish the remaining four. The 13 remaining Kansai mountains will be the most difficult, but I’ll only need to average around one mountain a month, so it should be smooth sailing. The only thing that could add fuel to my mountain fire are the responsibilities that come with becoming the caretaker of fire-breathing, pellet-dropping little monster. With the due date set for Valentine’s Day, I’ve got only a very small climbing window before being called into action.