Kirishima through my eyes | Solo trip
Updated: Jan 2, 2019
“Traveling alone will be the scariest, most liberating, life changing experience of your life" - Unknown
After a hectic conference in Kagoshima, I decided to stay around a couple of days and travel. Unfortunately, the city I was lodging at is home to museums and temples which were not of my liking. So, I decided to go further away to the neighbouring city called Kirishima, known for it's crater lakes and geysers. Captivated by the images of the place on the internet I started my journey towards Kirishima and when I reached the place I realised I had only 3 hours to hike up the trail and back in order to make it to my flight back home. Being a bit skeptical about the whole idea, I asked around in my broken Japanese if it was possible to hike forth and back in 3 hours and I wasn't surprise when the very prudent Japanese replied with a 'no.'I also was told that the trails were rough and my footwear wasn't right for the occasion. So, I had to choose between just walking around the foot of the mountain for 3 hours until my bus arrived to the airport or take a chance and complete the hike and see those magnificent crater lakes. I obviously chose the latter because the images of the crater lake in my head and the fact that I came all the way to Kirishima made me do so. I ran whenever possible during the hike, trying not to get distracted by the serenity. I reached the first crater lake (not sure of the name), took a couple of pics and headed towards the second which is also declared as a world heritage site. By now, I had completed an hour of hiking and I still needed around an hour and 30 minutes to make it to the top of the mountain and back to the foot. So, with regards to time management I was doing quite well, but I already had a sore foot just the way the Japanese had warned me.
Neglecting the sore feet I continued my hike and when I reached the ultimate destination, my heart sank. Never before and till date have I witnessed such an exquisite sight. A deep turquoise blue lake surrounded by myriads of colours in the shades of red, orange and green was breathtaking. At that moment, I thought even if I missed my flight, I wouldn't regret having made this choice to hike up the mountain.
I spent sometime by the lake and took pictures until my battery was dead. Then I started my way back to the foot of the mountain. After minutes of walking, I realised I only had 30 minutes left to make it to the bus, and I wouldn't be able to make it as I was taking a different trail, longer than the one I took to the top. Worried, I started running down the trail when a old Japanese woman stopped me and questioned my whereabouts, etc. I answered her hesitantly and stopped her from further questions, explaining my situation. The old Japanese woman turned out to be my Guardian Angel, who offered me a ride to the bus station and I reached in time to have a sip of water and boarded the bus to the airport.
To sum up, my first solo trip turned out to be the best trip in my life, thus far. It definitely changed the way I look at life and motivated me to challenge my myself more often.