Monday, September 09, 2013

Japan vacation, hiking day six.

We wake to blue skies, very clear air, and great views. Yeah!

After breakfast we are on our way shortly after 6. We head back up the Yakushidake, repeating the route of the previous night, this time with even better views. After the shoulder we follow the ridge the rest of the way to the top of Yakushidake (2926 m), with its small house holding a Buddhist altar and soak in the views. Then off we go along the ridge.
Great ridge walking...
...with views!
Great ridge walking with views.... This is what we're here for! We have tons of fun with the varied path, sometimes normal walking, some block, some a bit scrambly, great stuff. Along the way we pass a couple folks who had also stayed at the hut, we will see them again at the Goshiki-ga-hara hut later. At the end of the ridge we start a long descent towards the next saddle. This is at times steep, at times shallow, and it even includes some ascents (of course...). We cross a few others coming up against us. After a good bit of this we hit the Sugo-nokkoshi hut (at 2300m). This looks fairly old and pretty basic. We fill up our water bottles and continue down. Now the descent is mostly through the woods and involves some bits requiring a bit of concentration since the rocks are wet and slippery down here. We do an energy bar break in a particularly nicely sunny spot with a good view.
through the woods
At the saddle (2130m) we start the mandatory climb back up (ah... ridge walking). This is a long one, a net of around 500m up with loads of fairly big ups and downs and some nice scrambly bits along the way. We do eventually get to the peak of the Ecchuzawadake at 2591m and enjoy a nice lunch break (the lunch boxes from the Kurobegoro hut) to rest our legs and let us soak in more of the views (including the hut, which seems misleadingly close). 
lunch box

Onwards we go down the other side of the peak, across a broad, gently descending plain, until hitting the next saddle at 2356m. Now we have the last climb of the day. Up we go, again on a very fun path with some scrambling, up up up, until reaching the peak at 2616m. Now we just have a short descent, and then we cross the plain on wooden walkways until we reach the Goshiki-ga-hara hut (2500m) at around 2:00.
on the peak for our lunch break, clouds start moving in
We check in, have a cool beverage to celebrate the day, chat with an American living in Japan for a bit, and then head up to our room (we actually have a six tatami room to ourselves). A some point in the afternoon there is a loudspeaker announcement that we, of course, don't understand, but Andrea runs into the American who tells her that there are hot showers available for men for the next 20 minutes, then for the women. Alright! Greg runs down and discovers that it's even better than that: they have a big tub full of hot water like at an onsen. Awesome! Greg takes full advantage, then Andrea takes her turn, and then, with both of us clean and noodled from the hot water, we head for dinner.

We need more days like today and less of those crappy rainy days!

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