Concerning the Rain Dragon

Location: Uryu, Hokkaido, Japan

Friday, August 11, 2006

My friends at the BOE

Monday, August 07, 2006

Uryu Numa again

More Uryu Numa

Uryu Numa

Uryu Numa is a large marshland that was carved out of a mountain by an ancient glacier. Sugoi desu ne?!!! It is what my lovely town of Uryu is famouse for. I have been many places in Hokkaido, but I must say without a trace of bias, that Uryu Numa is the most spactacular and beautiful place that I have been. The small ponds that dot the landscape are pristine. There are no fish living in the ponds, and all the water in them is rain and ground water. When I went, the flowers were just starting to bloom. The geology geek in me was thrilled with how cool it was to be standing where a glacier once was, thousands of years ago.

Hiking up to Uryu Numa

Jen, Dave, and I hiked up to Uryu Numa on July 16. I was very lucky to get to go, because the day after we went there was a big storm and the road to Uryu Numa was closed by a rock slide. Now, before I went to Uryu Numa, I thought, "what is all this fussyness, closing roads?" I thought it must just be some unnessesary Japanese precautions. Well, while we were driving there, and seeing the actual condition of the "road", okay, okay, so maybe they were right. It was essentially a one-lane, unpaved gravel road that I thought a bit cramped for Sweetums. Often too narrow for two cars, so if there's an on-coming car, one car either has to drive off the cliff or back up. A bit unnerving, but quite an adventure. What really amazes me is that massive tour buses use that road. That's just crazy. Most of the guard rales and mirrors along the road were smashed and bent. I think I know why.

But back to the climb. The climb up to Uryu Numa, which is a marshland carved out of the mountain by an extinct glacier, was extremely challenging. The humidity itself was close to unbearable. It felt like walking through a rainforest. Very steep, very wet, and extremely treacherous. But it was well worth it.

White Dragon Waterfall

That's the name of the waterfall, written on the sign. I saw this waterfall hiking up to Uryu Numa on July 16. It was the most difficult hike I've ever done, but I must say one of the best. What I think is really cool about the mountain is that it was formed volcanically. Look at the cobblestone effect on the cliff face. You don't see cliffs like that in Colorado. Kokuii!!!