Pictures of rolling stones, you say? As it happens, I encountered far too many of them on Saturday.
Not these specific ones - they were relatively sedentary. I went on a quest for a tile in Chichibu. I expected to ditch the bike and hike 2 km or so.
Couldn't find any information about the hiking trail, although it appears on OSM quite clearly.
After a couple of false starts, i.e., riding straight past the trailhead this way and that way, I spotted a telltale pink ribbon tied around a tree trunk. And the next one. And the next one. Alas, before too long, it was clear that the trail had been washed away some time ago.
"Never mind - I can get past this little gap."
"Well I did the last one - might as well keep going a bit more."
"I've worked so hard for it - I deserve this tile."
Thus I found myself rock-climbing up a crevasse. Got to a point where it was clear I could get no further. And then realised that I had no safe way to climb back down. My steps were triggering little (and sometimes big) rock falls.
So, using the leafiest, least-rocky sections that I could find, I slid and bumped and wobbled and nearly-shat-myself down the mountainside, including the aforementioned crevasse, on my bottom; this seemed preferable to tumbling down the rocks headfirst. My arms and legs got scratched to hell, I tore up the side of my shorts, lost and retrieved my trekking poles several times, but survived to tell the tale.
I was too busy not dying to take photos of that part of the adventure. Sorry.
So, tile denied - for now. The north approach is simply not available. I can (and will) still get it, via a longer hike from Okutama side. Hope that trail is less mad.
As a recovery ride, on Sunday I rode with tiling-buddy along the rivers to Enoshima, nabbing my final square available there from dry land. Much less traumatic.
I have some time off over Easter, and then Golden Week, so hope to get into the Gunma mountains and improve my Max Square.
You know what they say, when you can't get any satisfaction: You can't always get what you want. At least your jaunt through the (Ron) wood(s) built up some (Charlie) watts. And I'm not taking the Mick(y Jagger).
Oh wow..... now that some struggle to get a tile! The old wisdom is 'it always looks easier when going up'.
@Half-Fast Mike By the by.... what shoes do you go with... for hike-a-bikes. I use to go with light hiking shoes + straps; now that I've gone clipless, debating whether MTB SPDs are good enough for hikes.
So far, my bottom-of-the-line ¥9000 Specialized MTB SPD shoes have been perfectly adequate most of the time. On a couple of occasions I've ended up in deep mud, with messy consequences for my socks.
Realising that the going was going to get tougher, last year I bought a pair of Shimano XM9 boots. I was very glad that I was wearing them on Saturday. I'll also use them when I'm only going hiking - a 2-day hike over Kumotoriyama is on the dance card for late May...
@Half-Fast Mike Well done on the tiles effort. Nice write up. I see you snagged the Enoshima tiles. Gonna have to get down that way again some day soon, but always put off, imagining the crowds and walking.
I think you're going to find that this one is very VERY hard.
You'll be able to get the tile to the south there, along the trial following Hayatogawa to the (rather pretty) waterfall. But going off-trail on that steep ridge you've marked is asking for trouble.
So far, I've only been along these dead-ends as far as shown in red.
For the last one on your planned route, when I went up it a little way on a club ride last August I turned back because there was nothing charming about the road, and because friends were waiting, not because it was impassable. (There was a fairly big rockfall, but easily negotiated.)
Thanks for you suggestion @Half-Fast Mike . This is really valuable info...
For branch 1: I'm sure there's a hiking trail that goes up there that leads up to the ridge.... but it looks like sketchy.
For branch 2: Steep ridge warning by @Half-Fast Mike . Strava running heatmap shows some activity along this path so I'm going to try this. Else, try approaching from route (1) , along the ridge, lot of elevation but do-able by a proper hike.
Btw, I already have the south tile.
For 3: No idea if this can be done. No info on Strava heatmaps. May check Yama-To-Whatever map series for this one. @Half-Fast Mike , rockfall picture looks encouraging but not sure if I'll be able to make it all the way to the next tile. Back-up plan: Long hiking approach (10 km?) from route 70!
Doing this on Saturday 13th (Early morning). If anyone's interested in getting lost in the mountains, please join in.
I think the road will just end, and then you're into off-trail backwoods 45º slopes.
I'm pretty much resigned to some long hikes for these areas. It's just a shame there's no easy way to dump my bicycle at one end and have it waiting for me at the other. Tramping along the road is not much fun for my knees.