When you imagine Tokyo, I bet the first thing you think of is not a view like this. Yet, these pictures are of Mt. Mitake and surrounding ranges in the far western reaches of Tokyo prefecture (I bet you didn’t know it’s not just a city. Kind of like New York, NY).
A few summers ago I was the assistant leader of a father-son camping expedition for a camp I used to do grounds maintenance for. There were about twelve of us, and we all had the pleasure of hiking up these mountains and enjoying the magnificent view. At times the fog was thick enough to prevent us from seeing past the first mountain range. I loved the look of it rolling across and between the mountains though.
On the first night of our two-night Tokyo Camping adventure, the group hiked to a fish hatchery. This was an ideal spot to go because we were pretty much guaranteed to catch our dinner. Growing up with 3 years of Boy Scout experience (plus 5 years in the Cub Scouts. I even got every hat pin!), I am no stranger to preparing fresh fish for dinner while camping. However, I enjoyed learning about the Japanese style of fire roasted fish. It’s very basic but surprisingly delicious. After washing and gutting the fish, you sprinkle some rock salt on it, skewer it, and prop it up over the fire to roast. After about 25 minutes it’s ready to eat right off the stick. Yum!
The next day we hopped on a local train for some more hiking and another night in Tokyo’s gorgeous mountains.
Sometimes I don’t know what I’m missing until I find it again. This is usually the case when I immerse myself in the natural world after a long spell apart from it. Once deep in the forest, I’ll start thinking things like, “Has nature always smelled so fresh?…I need to go hiking more often!” Playing off this it’s-good-to-be-back-in-nature feeling, I then turn billy-goat and high tail it up mountain trails until I realize my stamina isn’t at the over 9000 level like my enthusiasm is. This usually kills the magic and brings me down to a more normal appreciation of my green surroundings.
Such were my feelings on our second day of the Tokyo camping expedition. The forest and trails leading up Mt. Mitake were a refreshing change from Tokyo’s urban sprawl. I think my hiking companions felt the same way, and we spent most of our 4-hour hike in quiet appreciation.
Quick Photo Tip!
When trying to take pictures of interesting walkways and paths, two things I keep in mind are:
1. Framing shots so the paths act as leading lines and create movement within the photograph.
2. Which details in or around the path do I want to highlight?
How do you think I did with the path shots in this post? Also, I couldn’t decide if I liked the color version or black and white better for the shot below. Which do you prefer?