Japan 2017: Daisetsuzan Nat’l Park

Sounkyo Onsen

The breakfasts and dinners at Hotel Taisetsu are killing me; I stopped eating lunch. This is breakfast (miso soup and rice not shown).

Claire enjoys the private onsen that came with our room.

Kogen Onsen

You can’t enter the trail without first passing through the Bear Information Center, staffed by an old Japanese guy who briefs hikers about all the bears.

He tried to brief us on the current situation. Dark spots are ponds; the man said that due to the bears we should either only eat food there or never eat food there; he was hard to understand. The blue markers are recent bear sightings. The red markers are either other bear sightings or rangers with guns posted to shoot bears; again it was unclear. Claire is unhappy.

Claire: “Wow, look at those rickety bridges down there.” Steve: “Yes, they are part of our trail.” Claire is unhappy.

One of the eat/no-eat ponds.

A hot spring and steam vent along the trail.

Even in July there is still snow on the ground. This is the first time I have seen the back of my head in many years; I look like I have the mange. I am unhappy.

I am so disturbed by that photo that at dinner I insist Claire take a photo of the back of my head. Must have been glint from the sun. Still plenty of hair back there.

Mt. Kurodake

View of Sounkyo Onsen hotels.

There are several scary snow fields you have to scramble across; I go ahead and Claire turns back.

Conqueror of Mt. Kurodake.

Mt. Akedake

Here the snow fields are huge. If you slip you will slide a thousand feet and smash into the trees below. Nevertheless, hikers are crossing without crampons. I decide they are insane and turn back.

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