having an old me and a new me is a cliché
having an old me is also a timeling thing – having something substantial to come after something else substantial. and for something to become substantial, it has to be established and this takes time
so I had a conversation between old me and new me and the old me managed to convince me, luckily
not without a small sense of precarity, but it was a sunny day's precarity.
where was I, so I had left Fukuoka and taken the Ferry down to Yakushima. I slept a night at the so called Yakusisugi Museum, where buses for the mountain trailhead left from.
Yakusugi is a species of giant cedar endemic to Yakusugi.
They are huge.
Jomon-sugi (many of the big and old ones are named) being the biggest at 5 metres across. During the hike up, trees that were 2 metres across seemed already huge.
I boarded a small bus with seats lined up with plastic. For the abundant Yakushima rain, I thought. Today was promising to be a sunny day though. One of 10 rainless days a year.
The trail followed a narrow-gauge railway line built along the river for logging purposes.
The day after I walked past a huge depot of logged Yakusugis. Still, most of the island is protected, and the part that wasnt – where most of the hike took place – seemed equally pristine, save the infrasturcture of steps, railings and endless 'appreciation platforms' as I came to call them.
When the paved trail forked into several appreciation platforms, you knew there was something to appreciate.
Later on the hike, I saw beautiful trees without signs or nametags, or any appreciation platforms erected for them. I found myself saying quietly outloud: 'don't think that you are not appreciated just because you don't have a single appreciation platform'.
The hike up to Jomon-sugi is very popular. The walk back down the same way to the bus would've been even more crowded than the ascent. Having left at 5.30 from the Yakusugi museum, I was already at the top of the main trail by 10.30.
The buses back to town from the trailheads left as late as 5pm, so I thought to myself: I have time.
I had a short conversation with myself. I felt excellent, not tired at all, and the day was very sunny. I didn't want to go back the same way, but I wasn't sure wether there were buses or any transportation available at another trailhead, which according to the map wouldve been another 9h hike. So even at best, according to the written time, I would be there after dark.
Not a good idea, thought Lauri the new.
But I had made the 6h-marked hike in 3,5 hours. So I would make the hike down to the other trailhead in just over 5 hours.
The hike over to the other side would in fact go over the top of the island, incidentally also the highest point in the entire Kyushu region at 1 986 m.
I was already walking down the trail laid down for Lauri the new, when I did the math again.
Besides, everything works in Japan. There will be at least a public toilet at the other trailhead, probably a series of signs (many on Yakushima are also in English) and perhaps even some information for just the kind of hiker like Lauri the old, who makes less-researched spontaneous decisions.
What's the worst that can happen.
So I went for it, accelerated a bit, and got to the top of Miyanouradake in just under an hour and a half from my timeling-point.
Steve, the bartender from DC had followed me. Who's the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows them, was the second thing I said to them after having revealed my crazy plan two hours before. We ended up doing the whole hike down across the island to the other trailhead together. Supporting each others crazinesses with kind words from stranger to stranger.
We got to the trailhead by 5pm, there were of course no buses, but a public toilet and clearly marked signs with how long it takes to walk down to Anbo, where we were both staying.
So we hitchhiked and got a ride in under 5 minutes.
We had flying fish for dinner.
Here's to the old me.