Wednesday August 6th 11 Km (7 miles) 8 hrs
Waking up later than expected gave us the latest starting time so far. Fortunately the route up Eboshikoya to our destination of Mitsumata-sanso was the easiest yet. An easy trail that traversed and snaked along the ridge line up until Suisho-dake at 2986 meters (9,501 ft). The main trail, for about 6 hours of the hike, was along a beautiful ridge that opened below a rock strewn valley that was very reminiscent of New Zealand. Along the way we surpassed Mitsu-dake at 2844 meters (9,330 ft), Noguchigora-dake at 2924 meters (9,593 ft) and Masago-dake at 2862 meters (9,389 ft). Although the sun sun wasn’t shining the weather was pleasant enough and not too hot or cold. Along the main ridge we sptted numerous alpine wildflowers as well as families of nesting Raicho’s. The last hour of the hike was the crux of the day and it was almost like the mountain Gods wouldn’t let us get away with an easy pleasant day. The route to the tent site was mostly a stream turned pathway and Chris’ shoes became a sponge and completely soaked through. Then the final half hour the clouds opened up and the rain dumped on us. However, we did inch ever so closer to our main goal today, Yarigatake, and tomorrow we should be sitting on top of the sacred mountain. The last few days have been really trying but with days like today it makes life on the trail much easier. Each day so far has been utterly different from the next. I’ve experienced all types of weather, have seen many different areas of the mountains in this spot of Japan, some days have been very difficult and some days easy. In the course of the last 12 days I’ve really had to adjust myself to different circumstances which build character and a big reason why this adventure is so important for me in the first place. It’s not just the sites, the foods, the people you meet, but the experience of it all that changes you from the inside. Day 11 in the mountains is finished and I’m looking forward to my last 2 days in the Japanese Northern Alps.