At the end of August, looking to escape the Tokyo summer heat, I took a highway bus from Shinjuku to Hakuba, the famous ski town in Nagano, for a three-day solo hike in the Hakuba Range.
As you may know, I plan to hike the John Muir Trail, called the JMT for short, in September. It’s less than 3-weeks before I fly to the US to make final preparations (mostly buying food and sending myself re-supply) before embarking on the trail. My friend Libby suggested I tell you all a bit … Continue reading The John Muir Trail
On clear days, you can see Dabajianshan (大霸尖山) from my parents' apartment perched on the hills southeast of downtown Hsinchu. The distinctive square shape of the peak makes it super easy to recognize. It's on the 500NT note. Dabajianshan is the holy mountain of the Atayal people and where they believe their ancestors came from. The "ba" in Daba means "dominate"; it's the same character used in「霸王」or warlord. All reasons I decided to climb it.
The Shinetsu Trail is an 80 kilometer trail from Mt. Madarao to Mt. Amamizu along the ridge that separates Nagano and Niigata prefectures.
I’ve started talking to myself. I’m praying to the weather gods out loud: “Thanks for all the awesome weather this trip so far. Thank you for holding off the rain. Please keep holding off the rain.” I’m cheering myself on: “Go team! Good job, Ankles. That’s it, Knees. Just hang in there for another hour. We’ve all been together 35 years and no one has failed us yet. Guess what? We are pretty bad ass! I promise to take good care of you. (When this is over.) We’re going to the onsen!”
Shin-Takazuka Hut (新高塚小屋) is warm, comfy and quiet until 3:45 AM with the first rustlings of someone getting up to go to the toilet.
I’m up at 5:30 AM. Tent is still standing and all pegs are still in the ground. Not really wanting to risk the campsite toilet, I break camp and go to the parking area toilet to wash up. I head back toward town to the bus stop for an 8:15 bus to Shirataniunsuikyo, which is … Continue reading Yakushima Hike Day 1: Mountain Hut Debut