Here are some photos from the 3 day/2 night Tokachi Dake hike we did in Daisetsuzan National Park 2 weeks ago.
It was an absolutely stunnin' hike... The only thing was that the mountain was completely dried up so we had to carry all of our water for the 3 days. Another JET from NZ came on the hike with us and since it was her first real hike we carried her water also... so I had 8 liters on me!!!! Plus my pack, sleeping bag, food, jackets, waterproofs, utensils, etc... But the views were spectacular all the way thru the 3 days so I didn't even notice the weight!
These shots are from the 1st day... We took a slight 'happy detour' (some would like to call this a 'wrong turn' but I believe theres no such thing as a 'wrong turn' in the hiking world)... But this happy detour led us on top of the weirdest moss alien green bubbling volcanic sulphur moon rocks. One of the guys started gagging from the sulphur. It felt like we were gonna fall into this bog of eternal stench!!!!! (sadly - for those labryinth fans out there - no david bowie in spandex was there to sing us out)
Each day (or I should say few hours) the terrain changed drastically... We had crazy sulphur moonscape, alpine Xmas tree walks, scree running, rocky climbs, etc...
On the 2nd day after we set out in the morning a huge wind storm swept in and covered the mountain in a thick fog. We could barely see in front of us and the wind was so strong it knocked me over a few times!!!
But then out of nowhere the clouds would disappear and leave us with a gorgeous view!!! The pic on the left I took right as the views started to reappear! This was also the start of the amazing scree run we had!
We stayed at 2 different basic mountain huts along the way... so luckily we didn't need to carry tents. The right pic is of me and Yama - another hiker who stayed at the huts with us... He has hiked and biked all over Japan...
Also in the hut I met a High School teacher from Hakkodate. He also didn't speak a lick of English but luckily I had enough vocab to talk about the Squid Festival that I'm dying to go to next year!!!! I made him teach me the squid dance!!! Hahahahha.... It helped keep us warm at least. I gave him my business card - but I still haven't heard back from him. Maybe my squid dancing skills scared him off.
We scaled a few peaks: Kamifurano-dake, Tokachi-dake, Biei-dake and Biei Fuji before heading back down on the 3rd day. And on top of each of those peaks I had the group do the squid dance!!!!! I know someone took video so I'll have to post that later on. :)
The second night we were lucky to have a full moon! It was HUGE and lit up the entire mountain. I tried to drag Emma out of bed to see the moon but instead I got a cranky: "A MOONs A MOON CALLIE!!!!!!!! IM NOT GETTING UP OUT OF THIS SLEEPING BAG AND GOING OUT INTO THE COLD TO SEE A MOON! A MOONS A MOON!!!!!!" hahaha... whoops.
The last pic here is of the drive back to get our car at Tokachi-onsen. We could see all of the mountains we had just climbed!!!!!
We ended the 3 day hike with a long soak in Tokachi Onsen.... It seemed as though we were soaking in a huge tub of muddy miso ramen soup. Mmmmm... but the views of the mountain range we hiked from the onsen was gorgeous!!!
Awwww.... how I LOVE LOVE LOVE hiking. I can't get enough of it!!!! I'm so happy I was placed in Hokkaido - it really is a hikers playground! I'll try and get a few more hikes in before the snow comes. On our hike there was frost on the ground in the morning so I don't think it will be long now!
For loads more photos of the hike check out: http://callieinjapan.shutterfly.com/679