Thursday, August 29, 2013

Three Falls... three boys... and a camera...

In early June, I got the bug to go out and enjoy Mother Nature for a few hours. Those of you who know me well, you know that this is a rare occurrence. I enjoy Mother Nature for an hour or two at a time, unless I am sunbathing on a beach. Then, it can go all day if I have a good book, huge cup of iced tea with Sweet n Low (preferably from Sonic) and the lack of a husband who doesn't like sand or crowds (thank you Iraq deployments). If the husband is in tow, I'm usually ready to drop him back off at home in about 35 minutes.

Living in Japan, I have heard about some gorgeous hikes people can take if they are so inclined. I am rarely inclined to hike or camp, so I hear about these trips and I say all the things one is supposed to say, like "Wow! That sounds amazing!" and "What a great opportunity!" but I do not commit to actually participating in such activities. There is a valid reason. I have tried hiking, biking and camping (I was a Girl Scout and I went to college in Flagstaff, Ariz., home to thousands of tree huggers, er, forest-lovers) and I always end up having something terrible happen to me... like it being so dusty that I get sick and throw up in my tent, or need to go to the bathroom so bad I rush back to my cabin, fall in a stream and the water was so cold that I pee myself. Thank God I was already wet from the fall... no one knew... until now. Or the time when a stick somehow got stuck in my mountain bike tire spokes on a downhill path and I was launched over the handlebars and enjoyed a face full of gravel. Or the two times I have managed to flip an ATV... both times in water/mud. No, Mother Nature and I have agreed that as long as I only stay out in the (relative) wilderness for only an hour or two at a time, she will not subject me with anything too terrible.

So the family, plus 5-year-old Junior, our neighbor we were babysitting, headed out to Three Falls one Saturday in June, about 40 minutes away from MCAS Iwakuni, in to the mountains. These falls are actually called Futashika Umezu by the Japanese, but you know how Americans are... if we can't pronounce it then we just give it a new name we can pronounce. Like New York. Or New Jersey. Or New Hampshire.

There are, in fact, three water falls at Three Falls, so, at least the description is an accurate one.

Falls 1 and 2
The Japanese apparently aren't too worried about people falling in to the shallow water with river rocks, or lawsuits from injured parties, or anything like that. There are very few rails, and those that they do have are simply a metal pipe to grab on to (see in the above photo), that may or may not be rusted. To get to the very end of the falls area, you have to climb up a steep metal ladder and some of the steps are chewed up by rust. But there wasn't a lot of "hiking" per se. More like "uphill walking" in some areas, and the kids managed it all just fine.

Falls 3, with Falls 1 and 2 framed in the background

No crowds + no sand = happy hubby

Proof Will and Xan were there.

Proof Junior was there. And so was his ninja bandana.

Proof I enjoy finding wildlife in when in the wilderness. And that frogs do a pretty good job of blending in to their surroundings.

Proof I was there and with people who had no patience, so I couldn't take the time to get a great exposure, and I had to use my camera flash, so now we look like we were poorly "Photoshopped" in to the shot, which, I assure you, was not the case.

As you can see from the photos, the area is beautiful. We hung out for about an hour before walking back to the car, about a 20 minute effort. In all, I was in nature for less than two hours. None of the kids fell in to the water, I did not pee on myself and there wasn't any sand for the spouse to complain about. That rates the trip as a success in my book.

1 comment:

Allen Evans said...

Nice pics. I use to go their in the late 80's when I was stationed at MCAS Iwakuni. Glad to see its still there and looks exactly the same.