2016 Japan winter trip (day 4)

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January 26

6:42 am – Got up

7:54 am – Off we go

8:58 am – 東山 Trail board #52-2
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9:05 am – 東山 Trail board #53
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9:07 am – 東山 Trail board #54
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9:08 am – 東山 Trail board #55
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9:13 am – 東山 Trail board #56-1
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9:16 am – 東山 Trail board #56-2
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9:35 am – 東山 Trail board #57-1
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There were two paths from here. I took the one that led to the top of Mt. Uryuzan.

9:39 am – 東山 Trail board #58-1
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I missed #57-2.

9:41 am – 東山 Trail board #58-3
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I missed #58-2.

9:49 am – 東山 Trail board #59-1
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9:50 am – 東山 Trail board #59-2
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9:55 am – 東山 Trail board #59-3
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9:57 am – Mt. Uryuzan
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There’s also a shrine here.

9:58 am – 東山 Trail board #59-4
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10:01 am – 東山 Trail board #59-5
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10:02 am – Snow
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First patch of snow encountered. It gets better. Way better.

10:05 am – 東山 Trail board #60-1
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10:11 am – 東山 Trail board #61
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It felt like there should have been a #60-2. There’s none, not even on the map.

10:15 am – Another peak
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The name is written on the map in Japanese.

10:19 am – 東山 Trail board #62
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10:23 am – Another view
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I found a decent walking stick somewhere around here.

10:26 am – 東山 Trail board #63
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10:29 am – 東山 Trail board #64
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10:36 am – Trail blocked
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I could probably have crawled under but instead I went through the trees on the right side.

10:42 am – Snow again
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10:47 am – More snow
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At this point I was just taking pictures of snow patches.

10:51 am – 東山 Trail board #65
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11:03 am – 東山 Trail board #66
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Two guys on mountain bikes passed me by as I was leaving #66.

11:25 am – A stone torii
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11:26 am – 東山 Trail board #67
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11:50 am – 東山 Trail board #68
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11:53 am – 東山 Trail board #69
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11:56 am – Another view
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Those are power lines.

12:16 pm – 東山 Trail board #70
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It was a climb to around 500 meters. The snow was getting thicker too.

12:21 pm – 東山 Trail board #71
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There’s a rest area here.
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12:35 pm – 東山 Trail board #72
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12:40 pm – 東山 Trail board #73-1
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A few steps after leaving #72, the path curves to an uphill climb in snow. This image shows the path from #72. After getting to #73-1, I thought to myself, “What did I get myself into?”

12:45 pm – 東山 Trail board #73-2
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An uphill path on the side of the mountain in snow.

12:50 pm – 東山 Trail board #73-3
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12:52 pm – Hiei view spot
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I had no idea what those were.

12:57 pm – 東山 Trail board #74
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This is the last marker for the Higashiyama (東山)  Course. See that branch on the right side of the trail board? That’s the walking stick I found back at #62. I stuck it in the snow with the intention of leaving it. My rationale was that I wasn’t going to need it anymore.

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These looked like “I was here” notes.

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The place was covered in ankle-deep snow.

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This was taken under a shed on the far side of where the previous photo was taken. There’s a vending machine to my left. Cable-Hiei station is located a few meters to the right.

1:02 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #1
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This is the start of the Kitayama (北山) Course (East). Remember the walking stick I left back at #74? When I saw this, I immediately went back to get it.

1:18 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #2
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1:20 pm – Ski area
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1:24 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #3
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1:31 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #4
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Another rest area.

1:45 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #5
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1:52 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #6
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1:55 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #7
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This was the bridge that separated #6 and #7. I slipped on the far side of the picture (near #6).


Road below the bridge.

1:56 pm – Stairs going down
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2:00 pm – More stairs
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Looking back.

2:02 pm – Last ones
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That’s Jodoin shrine. I peeked inside but didn’t see anybody.

2:04 pm – View from the bottom
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2:06 pm – Frozen
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2:10 pm – Path to #8
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2:12 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #8
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Path that leads to another temple (I think).

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2:23 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #9-1
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2:25 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #9-2
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There was a bathroom before I got here but it was closed.

2:29 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #10-1
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2:32 pm – A tunnel
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Went through to #10-2. It was echo-y.

2:33 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #10-2
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2:50 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #11-1
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3:03 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #11-2
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3:18 pm – Afternoon sun
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3:24 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #12
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3:36 pm – Steep slope
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This is an image (looking down) of the steep ~80 meter climb to the peak of Mt. Yokotaka.

3:39 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #13
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It was getting a bit late and I was still at 700+ meters up. I was worried I won’t be able to make it back down before dark. I checked the map further and realized I won’t be out of the mountains until #24.

3:53 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #15
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I missed #14.

4:12 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #16-1
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Another peak (Mt. Mizuiyama, 794 m: highest in the trail) after another steep snowy climb from #15.

4:20 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #16-2
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4:30 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #16-3
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4:38 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #16-4
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4:54 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #17
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5:05 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #18
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5:17 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #19
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This was the start of a very long downhill path as the light from the sun was slowly fading.

5:38 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #20
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At this point it was already dark. I was actually biting on a tiny flashlight as I took this picture. This was at the bottom of the downhill path from #19.

5:41 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #21
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Getting here was kind of tricky. First of all it was already dark, I couldn’t be sure if I’m still on the right path. Second, because the area had less snow, I couldn’t really see any footprints that I can follow.

5:56 pm – A gate
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A few meters after #21 there weren’t much snow at all. Some parts of the path were moist and a few were on ice. In fact, I slipped again and this time my ass landed on a hard surface. I did not really see that I was stepping on ice (I had a tiny flashlight with three LEDs). Anyway, after a few meters of slower paced walking, I ran into this gate. Naturally, I panicked. Checked the map and there was indeed a gate. Even with the help of the phone’s flashlight, all I could see were more trees. I calmed down a bit and thought things through. I then entertained the possibility of spending the night there. Changed my mind and further checked the gate to see if I could climb over it (probably a little over 6 feet). The gate looked a bit flimsy so I decided against it, thinking I wouldn’t want to get deported for destruction of property.

6:01 pm – Tiny latch
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As I was examining the gate, I saw a tiny piece of metal sticking out near the bottom of one of the gate posts. I tried moving it and as it went up, it opened a smaller part on the left side of the gate. This is what the latch looked like from the other side of the gate.

6:04 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #22
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6:06 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #23
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Ah, sweet concrete.

6:10 pm – Goodbye my friend
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I said goodbye to my faithful side-stick (Get it? It rhymes with sidekick). Thank you for the numerous times you’ve kept me from falling over.

6:11 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #24
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I saw a bus stop nearby and decided to call it a day.

7:54 pm – Home sweet home

10:01 pm – Finally finished doing laundry
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