Location: Uryu, Hokkaido, Japan

Monday, August 07, 2006

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.


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