National Long Trail Forum, Japan

Dec 2016

Be-Pal Article, Jan 2017

Be-Pal Article

Written by Shin Moriyama

English translation by Katsu Sakuma


The god of Long Trail Hiking, Ray Jardine, really came to Tottori Japan!

Japan & US long trail masters got together in San'in Kaigan where mother earth breathe !

Masa: How do you like this trail?

Ray: If this place were in the U.S., it would be full of hikers.

Body Texts(Bottom)

120km long San'in Kaigan Geopark lies along the east/ west San'in coast line.

Tottori Prefecture covers some of the highlights of this trail, such as Uradome Beach and Sand Dunes.

Japan & US well known long trail hikers got together and hiked this section during a two day long trail event.

"The 13th Japan Long Trail Forum" was held in San'in Kaigan, Tottori, to discuss the current and future

situation of the trails of Japan. Ray Jardine & his wife Jenny were invited to Japan for the first time to attend this two day event.

During the forum on Dec.3rd, Ray explained the popularity of long trail hikes in the U.S. and gave us the following advice:

"Long trails in the U.S. are supported by many volunteers called the Trail Community. They maintain and clean the trails.

Many hikers are part of this community and this is the reason for the popularity of long trail hiking. In response to Ray's talk, the leader of the

ultra-light hikers, Tomo Tsuchiya, continues, "The important thing is after the creating the trails. In the U.S., someone always leaves some

bottles of water where no water is available. The hikers benefiting from this kindness will also provide something in the future. This chain

reaction of good deeds is called Trail Magic."


Body Texts (Bottom, continued from P.98)

One of the successful trails in Japan, Shinetsu Trail, also has water supply boxes similar to U.S. trails. You

can enjoy the human relationship as well as the nature along this trail.

The next day, Dec.4th, we split into four different hiking trails. Ray & Jenny joined the 15km long trail.

During the last section of the trail from which we could view the sand dunes in the distance, the rain and wind picked up. We came across a

young man who wore a bandana and he said "While I was hiking the Appalachian Trail this summer, many people helped me on the trail, so I

thought this is my turn to pay back that kindness." This Bandana guy, which turned out to be his trail nickname, came all the way from

Yamaguchi. He offered us Amazake, which is a Japanese traditional energy drink.

"As the weather worsened, Ray & Jenny's spirits were high and they acted goofy for the photographer and gave us strength as well."

The trail community, which connected US & Japan over the Pacific Ocean, gave us strength against the bad weather.

As the weather worsened, Ray & Jenny's spirits were high and they acted goofy for the photographer and gave us strength as well.

Ray says "This is a world-class trail. The local people are very kind and I enjoyed this a lot. We'd like to come back"

Through this hike, Ray & Jenny showed us the true meaning of Trail Community.

Day1: Talk session by well known guests

Part 1: What is the Long Trail?

Noriyasu Kunori & Sherpa Saito, who traveled around the world, talked about the fun of human powered traveling.

Part 2: The beauty of San'in Geo Park Trail from a girl's point of view

Wakana Fukushima & Hatsusmi Kagaya talked about the attractions of the Geo Park Trail.

Part 3: What needs to be done for the long trails to become part of the hiking culture in Japan.

Tomoya Tuchiya & Ryu Katsumata, who're familiar with the long trail culture in the U.S., are pointing out

the missing factors in Japan and getting advice from Ray Jardine.

Day 2: Trail Hiking Tour (from Tajiri Port to Sand Dunes, 15km long)

(Counter Clockwise)

↑A total of 42 hikers joined this 15 km trail. Everyone enjoyed the rugged beauty of the coast, the beach, the forest and the sand dunes

which is the highlight of Geo Park Trail.

↑We hiked down to the beach and up to the peak. There's many up & downs along this trail but they're well maintained.

The father with his child on his back was hiking with ease.

↑Ray enjoyed walking with the local hikers. Without their help and support, the trails would not be maintained.

←This breath taking rugged coast line is created by wind and wave action. What kind of landscape

can we see beyond the next peak? Eagerness to see the next landscape became the power of the hike.

→The wind and rain became strong when we reached the peak of the sand dunes. Ray & Jenny's spirit was still high.

←It was still sunny when Sherpa Saito & Hatsumi Kagaya lead the other group to the sand dunes in the morning.

↑Ray is pointing to the view of Sengan Matsushima and enjoying it and asking our guide questions . His age of 70 never stops

his curiosity.

←Kaizu-san was happy to get Ray's autograph on his father's climbing device, which Ray invented years ago.

His father sent it to him so his son could get an autgraph from the climbing legend.

→Trail Magic of Amazake

Bandana received many kindnessess on the Appalachian Trail this summer. He came to offer us Amazake as a way to say thank you. Hot

Amazake warmed our hearts and bodies.

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