Monday August 4th Route Time – 5.5 hrs 5 km (actual = 8 hrs and 9km …5.5 miles)
The 9th day hiking started off beautifully, a cool breeze at our backs with open skies in every direction all the while the sun was behind the high cirrus clouds enabling us to hike up Rengei-dake at 2,798 meters (9,179 ft) with ease. A little shinto shrine stood atop the summit and the backdrop of tateyama and tsurugi added to atmosphere. A steep decline on the other side brought us to a small col and a much needed rest. When fishing out the map from my bag is when I noticed my crucial mistake. It only took me 10 days to lose the first thing of importance (the sandals weren’t important). My treasured MP3 player was left back at the previous hut! Leaving my pack behind I scrambled back over Rengei-dake and to the hut only to find it still missing. So MP3less I returned to my pack very hot and very angry at myself. I sat down to ponder my error. It being a material object that I can replace, I rationalized the problem and figured by the time I got to Matsumoto I could purchase another one. Although I’m angry at myself I didn’t think it will kill either my day or my hike. However making the 3 hour diversion my body was exhausted and I still had two hikes up some pretty steep peaks to attempt. I guess the Kami (Japanese God) was angry and my karma was bad because as I ascended Kitakatsu-dake at 2,551 meters (8,370 ft) the sun began to beat down heavily on my face and I started to really sweat profusely. After my exhausting ascent I fell upon my pack and felt a little more confident my day would soon end. The ascent up Nanakura-dake at 2,509 meters (8,231 ft) was no picnic either but the sight of a rare mountain raicho (ptarmigan) and her newly born babies made the climb a little more enjoyable. I finally arrived back at the tent site very very hungry and tired. Hopefully this day reached me a lesson about watching after my belongings, hopefully it won’t happen again!