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Endurance.Net Home 2007 Shining Moon: Manki Toge
Manki Toge - Which means 'ten thousand horse & soldier mountain pass'. A trek over the mountains in 1192 by a famous samurai from Kamakura to Tokyo. A grand hunting expedition. Yuki and Ai drove me out to the water point at the middle of the 2nd loop this morning. We drove past farmland, greenhouses, dairies, and Asama yama (Mt. Asama) was towering in the background - a perfect sunny day, the greenery from the past rain was glowing. I hiked up the Manki Toge trail, looking for a good view point for taking photos. The forest is so dense though, there were just a few spots where one could peek through the forest along the edge of the trail and see the mountains. I got a few photos, but from a photographer's perspective the hike was hardly worth it. However from an ambler's perspective it was glorious.

This is such a rich and beautiful landscape. And so OLD... Japan is a very mature and civilized civilization, a culture which was isolated for centuries - very much steeped in tradition. One can still find old stone markers or cairns along the roads, temples and shrines set back in the dense woods, grass thatch roofs. As I walked up the trail I wondered how many feet and hooves and wagons had travelled the same tracks. The air smelled deep and pungent from the rich black soil, centuries of leaves falling, of seasons passing. And the noise from the cicadas was overwhelming.

The ride is progressing quite well - many many people helping, very efficient. The first loop was led by Bob Sample and Tycker Tape with a 14.8 km/hr pace. Slowest pace was 9 km/hr. It's getting warm now, and the riders are attacking the climb on loop 3 - up some steep hill through the wooded resort land, and back onto the Manki Toge trail - quite a bit of elevation. They have to make this climb 4 times over the course of the ride. Stats for loop 2 (where I hiked the trail) show that Bob Sample is still holding a good pace - 14.2 km/hr - Will be interesting to see what the pace is on the 3rd loop, Chuma Shohei picked up the pace with Freedom Sebastion II for a 14.5 average pace. Hasumi san is riding just behind Bob in 3rd place, and Midori Yasunaga is in 2nd place for now. Just received radio report from the water checkpoint - Honda Masanori is withdrawing. Long winding trailer ride back to camp!

Time to head back out and enjoy the sunshine - Steph