Forrest Oliphant

howlers

2005-04-07

cliffsSaturday I went for a hike with Ewan in Kitayamazaki... these cliffs are pretty freaking beautiful. We hiked down to the end of the trail, jumped the barrier and took the decrepit stairs down to sea level. The ocean sucks through the rocks here with every wave with impressive force. It would be scary to fall in. Even though the concrete platform is sturdy enough, the force and rise and fall of the water made me feel like I would fall in and be sucked away by the under-toad if I looked too long.

The sign pointing to Kitayamahama says 3.5 Km, but I did the walk with my father last June, and it was the longest 3.5 Km I've ever done. I think it might be as the crow flies -- either that or the measurement ignores vertical distance traveled -- and a lot of the walk is more up than     over. I thought about counting the stairs, but got bored after about twenty. Anyhow, there are a lot.

I was walking on the posts of the stairs, imagining that I could do it one hundred stories above a busy city street, if only they were this sturdy. Up and up and up and "what the..." said Ewan, a few posts ahead of me. I figured that there was a loose post, and went to go around him. "Stop! look!" he said, and I looked at the post, which didn't look loose to me. "It's OK, I'll go around that one," I said, but he had physically stopped me with his outstretched arm, the auto-instinctual half-iron-cross of motherly protection. I was going to tell him that he was overreacting a bit, but I followed his gaze to the top of the flight of stairs, where a wolf was staring down at us.

"What the f*** is that?!" he asked.

"Uh, that's... uh... it's..." I said (thinking "not a wolf, not a wolf, it's not a wolf, that would be impossible..."). It turned it's head away from us, and suddenly looked much more like a goat than a wolf, which was a lot easier to accept. Still, if it had thrown it's head back and let out a howl, I'm pretty sure we both would have wet ourselves screaming back down the concrete stair-cliffs. "It's a goat I think."

"Why isn't he hoofing it out of here?" Ewan asked. We both yelled at it a little, but it didn't seem to be bothered. We got sticks and made threatening motions, but it didn't care about that either. Eventually it tired of the show, and ambled off.

The rest of the hike was less adrenal. At one point there was a shuffling of leaves from the dropoff next to the trail, which sent us scrambling to the other side of the trail, our sticks in defensive positions, Ewan yelling "Oy!" I don't know about you, but I've always wondered how to yell at a rabid mountain goat in Scottish, so that made my day. When our pulses quieted in our ears we scooted over to the edge to look; there wasn't anything but leaves.

We turned around to see him, in the middle of the trail, staring at us. With a sleek black monkey on his back. "Looking for something?" the primate asked.

---

In hair news today, my wings are a 6.7 on the Koizumi scale.

Is the Koizumi koif koizumigere modeled after the Gere griffante? Well don't rip his thumb off over it...