So that's why it can be very nice to get out of town once in a while. For me, this weekend it was finally hiking-time. Since we are now in the off-season, a lot of the mountains are closed (I don't even know how that is supposed to work, how can you "close" a mountain?) and tourist numbers are very limited, since outdoor people are now drawn to the skiing areas.
So, in order to carefully test the waters of "hiking in the snow without any proper gear", I decided to not go too far up. I chose Mount Ryuugatake. I will not bore you with my description of the way there, partly because I am lazy and partly because Wes Lang already made a very nice job of doing that: http://japanhike.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/ryuu-ga-take/
Check out the site, it is really nice.
Once I got to the foot of the mountain is was surprised by the wall of snow on the side of the road, and one of the few other hikers I met on the way up was quite surprised to find out that I did not bring any "Eisens". Seems I was the only one without any crampons on that mountain that day.
|turns out "boots only" left me a bit underdressed in the weather conditions|
|the start of the "path" up the mountain...|
yeah, without the tiny red flag I would not have found it either
The hike itself is very nice, and - in winter, with snow up to your knees - quite demanding. It starts very steep, and only after a lot of sweat being shed on slippery serpentines in the woods, you finally make it out of the trees. Once there, the view is absolutely worth the effort. Mount Fuji seems to be just a few meters away, large as it looms over everything around.
|various views on mount Fuji on the way to the top of mount Ryuugatake|
I fell on my face quite some times, since the frozen snow was constantly breaking under my considerable weight, leading to me sinking in up to my knees (and in some places up to my hips).
|steep is the way to nice views|
|snow... so much snow...|
|the weather was perfect, just warm enough to set some of the icicles to melt|
|the treacherous ground giving way wherever it can|
stalling me, making it hard to labour uphill
On the top, I met the hiker from the beginning of the journey again, and after some friendly chat I set to cook some soup to reward myself with.
See you again soon, Mt. Ryuugatake! As soon as you get rid of all that snow...