Vista 626 veces, descargada 12 veces
preto de Atami, Tōkyō (Japan)
I had in mind a tough hike to get back in shape after too much eating, too much drinking while doing absolutely no excercice during a full week around New Year's eve. As a result I choose to go from Okutama lake as far as I could towards Takao-san. The whole trail is 42 km but starting at 7:30 after substantial snowfalls it was hardly conceivable I could to it entirely.
From the bus stop I walke a few hundred meters passing the 2 bridges separating it from the trail head, the asphalt was partly covered in ice. As soon as I hit the trail, my soles met solid ice under a very thin layer of snow, I didn't think twice I readily put on the light crampons.
The trail was almost entirely frozen up to the first peak, with steep sections and only animal tracks to be seen. At the deepest I walked in about 20 cm of snow but most of the time it was not more than 10 cm. That is not too much snow to do have to pause often to catch one's breath but definitely enough snow to make progress slower than usual.
As I was nearing Mito-san after more than 1 vertical kilometer higher than my starting point the characteristic feeling preceding a cramp materialized in my left thigh. I decided to ignore it for I know it's possible to keep walking even with cramps provided that the motivation doesn't flinch. So I kept going and the left thigh became painful just as the right was sending my warnings.
After a while I had cramps on both thighs, yet I had passed the highest peak and I knew that from there would be a successions of ups-and-downs, each downhill would be the opportunity to recover from the cramps, yet they reappeared invariably after even 5 meters going uphill.
For the first 15 kilometers the trail was entirely covered in snow and I couldn't walk as fast as I had wanted (namely 4.2 km/h to finish the 42 km in 10 hours) and I had trouble maintaining 3.5 km/h of average speed.
Around that time I removed my crampons and tried to increase the pace.
Besides a very rare opening through tree branches from where one can get a glimpse at Mount Fuji the dense forest prevents sights of anything, including the nearest summits in a way that one can't see the shape of the trail. In terms of landscapes it is a very boring trail and it sure would be even worse without snow.
On the second half of the trail sections exposed to the South below 1000m of elevation were free of snow and the mud made it slippery. The following stretches of snow had been tainted by the dirt of the numerous hikers and had turned brown, a very ugly sight. After countless ups-and-downs I got to the frozen uphill leading to Jimba-san. I had just ran out of water and it was fortunate to get there in time and buy some drinks at the mountain hut.
A few tourists were going down the frozen stairs with street footwear and were asking about the trail conditon until the road, madmen were they venturing in the mountains without proper gears, even on a small hill like Jimba a slip of the foot can lead to serious consequences.
It was already 4 PM when I got to Jimba and it was a bit too early to wait for sunset, a bit to late to hope to get to the next summit with no guarantee to have a nice view so I called it quits and went for the shortest way back to civilization.
Overall I walked 31 km, about 2,800 m of positive elevation change, I didn't give in to the cramps and it made for a nice tough training.
In terms of pictures, I have nothing to brag about but it wasn't the objective and it's good enough I could take a few shots.