Sunday, December 29, 2013

Paradise found.....and lost

Heavy snows up high recently, and not too bad down below.

Heading up the lower portion of the first pitch up Darumagamine
 the snow here is almost ready, the base is not quite firm enough.
Feeling good and confident from all the MTB riding.

surfs up on the top

a good 2 meters worth

good skiing ahead

This is Hyogo (or Japan)  weather in microcosm.  To the right (north) the heavy weather from the sea brings snow.
on the left the sun prevails. We are smack dab in the middle.

It never ceases to amaze me that the Inland Sea is visible from this distance.

The three sentinel pines at the foot of Futougamine

The trailless peak of Hachimansan, which supposedly has some
other-wordly significance.

3 hours of climbing and a well deserved lunch break at the cache
Just behind the lunch and cache spot it opens up into this beautiful
glade when the snow is deep enough.  The plan is to ski right down the center
and follow the ridge down all the way to the logging road.  Then take the
logging road back to my house, about 4 km. and get my car from the trailhead tomorrow.

After an hour semi-lost, exhausted, and  thankful to be back at the trail.
I came out just above the 3 pines at 3pm and a long way to go back down.

The red line marks my decent approximately.  The yellow
rectangles were planned ski routes.  As I got lower the woods became impassible on skis.
The snow depth was more than sufficient, but the brush was too
thick to ski through.  The blue line marks my retreat back
to the trail.  It was only 300? meters or so, but was so difficult
that at times I was crawling to make any headway in the  sometimes thigh deep snow.
My skis provided no help in the traverse as the brush was too thick
and the terrain  too steep.  I have to admit that there were two moments
when it seemed I'd be spending a long cold night up there before finding the trail.
 Retracing my tracks 600m. or so back to the cache uphill  was my last resort,
 going laterally 300m. was difficult enough.

And miles to go before I sleep, halfway home.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Now that winter is nearly here it's time to hike again
too much fun with the crew

We got hit with and exhilarating corn snow squall on top

first snow of the year

If you go off trail when it's warm you get this

and these

Time to sample the clover wine and berry liquor 

the ride is is totally pimped out, getting ready for some backcountry ski touring

Sunday, September 29, 2013

One of the last swimming days of the year at a nearby, hard to reach and quite deep hole

the tree platform I made a few years ago has succumbed to the elements,
a ships rope encrusted in moss bears witness to the damp

should have mulched all the beds this way from the get-go
beans and greens for the coming chill

I can't recall such an extended period of good weather

マツブサ matsubusa
they'll be ready when they turn purple

a huge tochi chestnut

アケビ (akebi) monkey pods- have been everywhere!

only a few parasol mushrooms this fall

サンショ sansho spice goes a long way

The haul (ball and all)
ヤマナシ (yamanashi)  mountain pears,  トチ(tochi) chestnuts,  ふじ (fuji) wisteria pods/seeds
くり (kuri) sweet chestnuts,  ガマズミ  gamazumi berries- Viburnum
The kids and I are having a blast with the 山菜 (sansai) mountain vegetable book
they help me read the fine print and we all learn a lot

The cool nights get me dreaming of winter and skiing,
always wanted an ultralight floorless shelter
for winter trips.  I plan to dig a triangular pit
down into the snow and make a bombproof shelter.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Finally Summer

The real summer has hit at last, not that I'm thrilled.
Rainy season was almost non-existant, for that I am glad.
But we've had more rain post-rainy season than in it.
standing on water
But now the humidity becomes extreme inside and out
Usually we have to suffer from mid-June to mid September with the wet and muggy
but this year we get a month reprieve
In the kitchen
This is actually cool

Things inside the house get moldy without central cooling.  
Fortunately with all solid wood it is easy to clean with some water and vinegar or wax.

Doing my part to revive the (Chinese) economy.  It's like an outdoor living room.

Now when it rains the party goes on.  And rain it does.

we got raided twice by monkeys

usually don't hit us till fall, got all my cukes and spuds

I've been putting off getting a real bicycle for years.
But around here riding is not as easy as it sounds.
It's either up or down, with little in between.
This baby can climb like nobody's business.
I'm totally hooked on riding it.

With all the woods roads around here it's easy to cover some ground

Even in the heat it's more pleasant than walking.
Normally I give up hiking in summer, it is just too hot and buggy.
It's just not worth it, but by bike it's totally different.
This should keep me in shape till ski season.