Monday July 28th 9 km (5.6 miles) 10.5 hrs
Woke up at 6am and my mind wandered to how the day would unfold. The climb started out with a nice gradual ascent through a lovely gully that was darted with melting glaciers and with a variety of beautiful alpine flowers. Today as compared to the previous two days on the trail my body felt strong. I was actually a little shocked at the ease in which I ascended not only Nagatsugayama at 2,267 meters (7,435 ft) and Asahidake at 2,418 meters (7,931 ft). Following Asahidake I made the assumption that the ascent of Yurikuradake would be easier than I thought. Obviously the wrong assumption. At the base of the peak I looked at the towering mass of stone which was about 600 meters straight up. The gradual ascent got steeper. When I came upon one false peak there was another false peak behind that and so forth. After nearly 2 grueling hours of climbing I reached the summit exhausted but happy for the climb to be over. I looked out over the valley below and could see nothing but clouds and mist. What an amazing site it must be when clear! For as I descended towards the koya (hut) below the sky parted for about a minute and I caught a glimpse of the amazing lush green valley with ice strewn all around, the amazing depth of the greenness is astounding. To think I’ve been busting my ass all day and this is my reward. This I relished! My mind was stuck in the moment and a smile ran across my face. Day 3 in the mountains is complete and i’m really looking forward to getting to the meat of the mountain range. It’s also my nephews birthday, happy birthday Gabriel!