Travelogue continued: falling out of sympathy with a massif made of soft-swelling lava domes stores up trouble for later.
November 20: I ain’t getting no satisfaction. I started at 6am to get myself up here, but Kuju’s summit is bare, cold, bleak, unrelieved by shrine or crater. The massif's gently swelling lava domes don't impress. They can’t begin to compete with the spectacular caldera of Aso that floats on the misty horizon.
Two days ago, the volcanoes of Kirishima went all out to wow. They even produced an out-of-season azalea to show how they might look in spring.
The only blossoms here are the frost-flowers that garnish every bush and grass stem.
What was Fukada Kyuya thinking of when he made Kuju one of his Famous Mountains of Japan?
Volcanic drama is scant on this massif. Steam vents from a nearby ridge, but any industrial suburb could furnish more impressive plumes of noxious vapour.
I walk down to the saddle below Kuju, passing a small lake. This is as close to a real crater as we’re going to get. The placing of the stones in the water is inept; they do these things better in any temple garden.
Yes, we have a problem here. Falling out of sympathy with any mountain is risky. Lack of respect leads to inattention and that can plunge the unsympathetic mountaineer into a world of hurt. And, in the next posting, it will.