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Posts tagged directions

Hike to Rainie Falls

Rainie Falls linda ryan ellie

Rainie Falls (near Wolf Creek and Grants Pass, Oregon)

We went on a four-mile hike last week along the Rogue River. The trail is a bit harder than the four miles indicate as you are frequently walking on rocks instead of a smooth dirt path. In addition, it is rarely flat. You are usually going up or down even though the net elevation gain is minor. However, it still isn’t difficult for most people, and the view along the way and at the end (pictured above) is worth it.

If you are coming from north of Wolf Creek on I-5, take exit 76 (about 49 miles south of Roseburg). Turn left just past Wolf Creek Tavern. Follow the road for about 15 miles to Graves Creek Bridge. The trail head is on the other side of the bridge. Park on the river side, not the cliff side.

From south of Grants Pass on I-5, take exit 61. Drive to Galice Road. Turn left onto Merlin Road. Continue onto Merlin-Galice Road until it turns back into Galice Road. Park on the right before the bridge, and cross the street for the trail head.

Speakeasy in Gwangju

speakeasy gwangju

Gwangju’s Speakeasy

If you ever find yourself in Gwangju, you may notice that socializing can be rather difficult. This is especially true if you can’t speak Korean and are by yourself. Unlike Japan, where I can walk into any establishment and quickly make friends, Korea can be rather isolating. Menus in restaurants and bars are designed for groups, not individuals, in Korea. Seating is designed for groups. If I walked into any normal pub in Korea, there was no place for me. Nor would anyone attempt to communicate. People simply don’t go out by themselves.

I read online about Speakeasy, drew a map, and headed out. The neighborhood was a long bike ride from where I was staying on the CNU campus. However, even after finding the general area, I couldn’t find Speakeasy. Eventually I did, but it wasn’t easy. Nor was it the second or third time I visited. The streets surrounding it are a maze. Maybe if you have GPS it won’t be so bad. In any event, Speakeasy is a place you should find if you are in Gwangju.

Tsukiji map in English and Japanese

tsukiji map in english and japanese

Tsukiji map (築地地図)

Tsukiji is one of the most confusing places on the planet. Maybe this map will help? Without a “you are here” magically appearing, I don’t think it will help too much, but maybe it will assist you a bit.

Here is a map of how to get to Tsukiji from the subway stations.

Mudeungsan National Park (무등산국립공원) Hiking – so many choices…

mudeungsan national park guidemap map mountain mount signs

Signs in Mudeungsan National Park pointing hikers in various directions

My first time on Mount Mudeung was confusing, to say the least. I didn’t have a plan, and there were so many trails, taking me who knows where, that I knew I needed to come back with a better plan. Near the bus stop where Bus 1187 drops you off, you will see the above fork in the road. The trails are pretty well marked but for some of them they are only marked in Korean.

The map below can be viewed in much more detail if you click on the image. This large map with hiking trails and key locations clearly listed in Korean and English can be viewed near the bus stop as well.

mudeungsan national park guidemap map mountain

Large map of hiking trails on and around Mount Mudeung (Gwangju, South Korea)

My plan for next time is to begin at Wonhyo-sa, climb up to Seoseokdae and Ipseokdae, pass Jeungsimsa (증심사) and Uijae (Art Museum), and then walk to the Hakdong-Jeungsimsa subway station (학동·증심사입구역). Supposedly this takes about six hours.

Note that guidebooks usually refer to Mount Mudeung as Mudeungsan Provincial Park, but the name was changed to Mudeungsan National Park in 2013.

Best view of Mt. Fuji from Tokyo area

Today’s title is a bit misleading as I wasn’t actually able to partake of the best view of Mt. Fuji from the east. But I did get to imagine it while standing in the correct location.

Let me back up a bit and explain. There are some great views of Mt. Fuji from Shizuoka and Yamanashi. Unfortunately, getting there from the Tokyo area can take hours and cost thousands of yen. The best views of Mt. Fuji from Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, and even most parts of Shizuoka and Yamanashi are usually obstructed, if not by buildings then by wires or most often by a mountain range that only allows for a partial, cap view.

I have found, however, a nearly complete view of Mt. Fuji a mere 90 minutes and 940 yen from Shinjuku (80 minutes and 850 yen from Yokohama). There are also some added bonuses of this location like rice paddies,

kanagawa yaga japan

mountain-side tea fields,

onoyama hiking course



a river,

yaga station

the ocean, a lake, and even cows at the top of the mountain!

cows with a view of mt. fuji

So where is this place? Mt. Ono or Onoyama (大野山). To get there, follow the signs from Yaga Station (谷峨駅). For best results, check this site first. If the forecast is for 晴れのち曇 (as it frequently is) then you want to be sure to be on the first Express out of Shinjuku in the morning. The view of Mt. Fuji is best in the morning, the earlier the better for photography purposes. The hike from the station to the top of the mountain takes between 1.5 and 2 hours. Don’t stop for pictures on the way up. Hightail it up the mountain and try to get to the views of Mt. Fuji before 9 a.m. You can take pictures of the rice paddies, tea fields, bamboo, river, etc. on your way down.

This is a great hike with the above forecast if you are jet lagged in Tokyo and waking up before 5 a.m. anyway. I chuckle when I go through Shinjuku in the morning and see foreign tourists waiting hours for the stores to open at 10 a.m. Don’t be one of them. If you did Tsukiji to pass your wide-awake, early-morning hours on day one of your trip (or if you simply want to do something in the morning and don’t want to be part of a tourist crowd) then, weather permitting, this could be on your agenda for morning two (Odakyu Line train out of Shinjuku leaves at 5:31 a.m.).

If the forecast is for 曇りのち晴れ then time your arrival at the top to be an hour or so before sunset. Don’t forget to bring a headlamp for the way down. The trail is well marked so there is little worry about getting lost. Follow signs pointing to 大野山 on the way up and to 谷峨駅 on the way down. Here are some examples:

onoyama mt. ono hiking course mt. fuji best viewonoyama

大野山ハイキングコース入口 = Onoyama Hiking Course Entrance

onoyama fujisan view

Above is a very poorly reconstructed scene of what it would look like were Mt. Fuji not covered in clouds. My camera was on wide angle and the sun was high overhead. A little zoom, a lower sun, and fewer clouds and this has to be one fantastic scene to behold. The entire left outline of Fuji San is visible and the right side reveals more from here than most Fuji views from the east. The scene in front of Mt. Fuji is also very nice, although the above photo doesn’t do it justice. Onoyama is covered not in trees but in grass. The name 大野山 literally means the mountain with a giant field on top, and that is what you will find. Hence the cows enjoying the view in the most unlikely of places.

shinmatsuda eki fujisan

I actually did see Mt. Fuji on this day. When I arrived at Shinmatsuda Station, I took the above pic from the station.

Softball in Medford, Oregon

Thursday night I played softball at U.S. Cellular.

U.S. Cellular Field Chicago Illinois

No, not that U.S. Cellular. (The above photo is one that I took when I was in Chicago last summer.)

Just up the road from where I live, U.S. Cellular sponsored the building of what may be the finest public sports facility in the country. It just opened a couple weeks ago, and last night was my team’s first game on the new field.

U.S. Cellular Medford Oregon

We played under the lights on the championship field which has fences 315 feet from home plate. Lucky for us we weren’t on one of the other fields, all of which have the fences 300 feet away as the other team hit about four balls that would have been over those fences. We hit only one that went more than 300 feet.

It was the closest game I’ve ever been in. We went 10 innings and finally won 7-6. That was the first time we led all night. We battled back from 2-0, 4-2, and 6-4 deficits to come out victorious and improve our record to 3-0. The game was far more exciting than what can be said in writing so I will just leave it at that.

U.S. Cellular softball and baseball park medford oregon

The above picture isn’t from our actual game (nor did I take it), but it does show the surface of the field. The views around the place are actually much better than what you see in this photo. Maybe I’ll take some better ones when we play our next game.

The sports complex is easy to spot from I-5 between Medford and Phoenix, but not so easy to find if you want to drive there since it isn’t on any maps (yet), nor are there any signs pointing the way. To get there you need to be on Highway 99. Between Lowry and Stage is an unnamed road heading off to the east. That is the road you take to get to the new softball fields.

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