One Man Walking

2008-07-08 Between the clouds

July 8th, 2008 · 3 Comments

I’ve seen a lot of good scenery. I lived amongst it for 5 months last year and I’ve just discovered another truly awe-inspiring place.
It rained in the night and I wasn’t looking forward to the first few hours of pushing through wet bamboo and pine brush. Isoda cheered me up by giving me one of his three pairs of gloves. With them wrapped inside my outer liners (plastic bags) I set off and wasn’t at all surprised to be soaking wet in minutes. I was surprised however when one of four Japanese campers at the next site asked if we could all walk together. I agreed thinking they wanted to talk to me but maybe he was just worried about this poor foreigner all alone in the mist. We trudged along in silence and I slowly let them get away as I kept stopping for atmospheric photos of icy lakes and rocks.

Misty snow crossing 

The descent from Tomuraushi was arduous to say the least, massive boulders and no real path, every step a potential leg/face breaker. It was here the clouds first parted and I got a proper glimpse of what this national park is supposed to look like. A glacially-carved valley stretching away to the west, a river meandering through the meadow, snow banks still sitting in the gullies. Then it was gone.
other hikers 

Clouds kept interfering with the view all day but when they opened I was treated to a landscape that could rival the high Sierras of California, which is pretty much my favourite place in the world.

I’d been fighting my way through another stand of pine brush, glad to be able to duck under a lot of it, when I met a guy with a bag big enough to store one of my younger siblings. Two of the small ones. I had no idea bags were even made that big. He was a porter he said, and I wished him good luck with the trail behind me.

The porter 

I came a long way today, but never rushed it. By not taking much in the way of breaks I was able to appreciate the views when they were there and still reach my target. I even took the time to back-track and make some clear marks in the snow for others trying to cross a large area in the white-out conditions I was facing. The only official mark pointed at the wrong angle and it wasn’t far before everything was out of view.

The final approach to Hakuun-dake hinan-goya (mountain hut) is long and clearly seen from the hut’s deck. I saw the occupants watching me and when I finally got within speaking distance I started off with “where’s the hot bath?” and a smile. The hut warden looked very worried. He started to explain they this was a mountain hut, no hot water, so I explained back that I was joking.
12 hours of wet socks 

Word of the day: to-zan-do = mountain path

Distance today: 26 km

Trail Profile 2008-07-08 

hiking  ·  photo

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Alison // Jul 12, 2008 at 1:16 am

    Looks mighty cold. Didn’t think you had taken gear for snow conditions. Relieved to know that you met up with others and made it to the mountain hut safely.

  • 2 Nana & Grandad // Jul 12, 2008 at 10:25 am

    We thought you were going to miss the snow – however what an experience for
    you – also the photos you have captured
    are fantastic – the finish is nearing.

  • 3 Alison // Jul 12, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Foot massage and pedicure in order.

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