Saturday, November 3, 2007

Futatsugatake

Bekah promised I would publish a more in depth account of our hike. Two weeks ago we climbed hiked around on yatsugatake, which means eight peaks. We took the train out to Hachioji on Friday night. Left the kids there with our friends the Cannells and left early Saturday morning. It was a three hour train ride through the mountains and another hour on a bus to Mugikusa pass. The pass was glove and beanie cold. We ate bentos, but there was not place to throw away the trash. i was going to offer to buy a map for $10 but the guy at the lodge was so salty, I decided not to, which turned out to be really stupid. (Last time we were in Japan we got lost using the map, so I thought we'd just ask people). We had a map, which was very oversimplified and might have worked it we took the exact same route as the guy. As it turns out, we were maybe on the same path as him for 20 minutes over three days. The first wrong turn was at shirouma (white horse)pond, where we decided to go left instead of over the nyu dake. Here's the lake.
Going up that way took a long time because it was really rocky and slippery because there was snow on the ground from the night before. There was a camp with a hotspring and I really wanted to get there tonight. It didn't look like we were going to make it on the original route, which crossed over several more mountains first, so we took a side trail down into the valley and across to the hot spring. As we hoped, it was mostly downhill or flat and so we got the campsite just as it was getting dark. The autumn scenery in the valley was really beautiful. The campsite had a little stream going through it with a small waterfall. The lodge looked cool too. We got instructions to the outdoor hotsprings but were told that it was to dangerous to go in the dark. But the moon came out and it wasn't too bad. The hotsprings was on a gravel slope above the river. The moon came out over the ridge and it was really beautiful. there was a freezing wind whipping down off the mountain so I really didn't want to get out. The only problem was that the springs were really sulfury and I smelled like sulfur the rest of the hike. Even now, two weeks later, I still occasionally get whiffs of it. Anyway, the full day of hiking, the altitude, and the sulfur were too much for Bekah and she got a migraine and started throwing up. Needless to say, I felt really bad. The next morning we had to decide whether we wanted to keep going or not. Bekah decided she did and we hiked back up to the ridge. Unfortunately, we took the wrong path, our map only showed one, but there were two, which put us back even further. Since that day was going to be the hardest and we would have had to climb over four big peaks till we came to someplace suitable for tent camping, we decided just to hike over to another valley and go out another way.

Here are the peaks that we didn't climb. It was pretty beautiful from the side though. the snow we got the previous day really helped. By the next day it had all melted again, so we felt pretty lucky.

Finally, here is the valley we hiked out of. The stream and the autumn trees were very beautiful and I'm glad we got to see it. Rather than pay $10 per person to camp at the rocky, overdeveloped campsite, we found a beautiful and illegal spot beside the stream. Hiked out the final day, caught a bus and train back to Hachioji. The kids were happy. Hideko has three boys and enjoyed having girls so much for the weekend, she bought them clothes.
Anyway, yatsugatake means eight peaks, but I entitled the post futatsugatake (two peaks), since I think that is how many we covered. It was very fun, but kind of far away.

2 comments:

Damaris said...

I think these pictures are going to make Adam want to go to Japan. I know it made me totally envious. Woah, what an incredibly beautiful place.

Pamela Palmer said...

hi jesse. sounds like bekah was a super good sport. beautiful place. how did your talks go? how are you? i know nothing about bikes.