Monday, May 27, 2024

A meizanologist's diary (75)

4 April: Pressure breathing has to be the secret, I decide – normally, I’d have no difficulty in keeping pace with the Sensei but today, every time I snap an image with my mobile phone, it’s all I can do to catch up with the ladies. My, they are moving. What’s more, they’ve been conversing all the way. So, for them, talking must be a form of pressure breathing …


Not that altitude is going to be a problem on Iwagomori-yama, one of Tsuruga's Three Famous Mountains. And Alpinist A. the Sensei’s friend, has further truncated its 765.2 metres by parking her car at the top of a pass. The rain has let up, but the trees are still dripping as we start off through the cloud forest of the Rei-Nan coastal range. 


Through mist-fogged glasses I observe what appears to be a mixed forest. We scramble up a rock step, its rugosities rough to the touch, which reminds us that the mountain's name could be translated as "Secluded among the rocks". Fragments of this granite strew the path, making the going less slippery than one might expect from the previous day’s downpours. 


At about 600 metres, we dip down into a grove of graceful beech trees. Once again, I’m amazed how low this cool temperate-zone species will grow on Fukui’s coastal hills. But for how long will they do so, given the rapid upshifting of climatic zones? It seems that Kyoto University has similar concerns at its Ashiu Forest Research Station, not so far from here. 

In the next decade, the savants warn, the lower limit for the beech trees will rise by three hundred metres, all but wiping them out within the bounds of the Research Station's mountains...

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