We were all in good spirits and the trail head had hiking sticks we could borrow!
We walked up a pleasantly constructed stone path through a hilly neighborhood and past fields of flowers until we reached a red bridge. Our guide Misako stopped us and told us that after crossing this bridge, it was said that we were entering the spiritual world.
This was because we were entering the Sacred Kii Mountain Range pilgrimage route, where devotees had walked for to see sacred temples and natural wonders imbued with spiritual qualities for 1200 years.
Like the many pilgrims before us, we were pretty short of breath before reaching the top.
We were told that drinking water from the falls would prolong our lives. One sip was ten years, two sips was twenty years, but three sips was just being greedy. Such is the logic of the spiritual world.