A two-day climb of Mount Nantai in Nikko, Tochigi

So what did you do during the Golden Week?

We had a choice: have a leisurely picnic at a nearby park or hike up a 2,400-meter mountain a hundred kilometers away. We didn’t need to think twice. After we made a final check on the weather, bought raincoats from Joyful Honda just in case and stuffed our packs with provisions and cameras (digital and film, APS-sized to medium format), we woke up one fine morning at 5AM and drove all the way to Chuzenjiko in Tochigi, at the foot of Mount Nantai, ready to start the climb.

I had thought that, with freezing temperatures at night (we planned to sleep on the mountain) and the dubious fitness of the climbing party (not to mention the 10% chance of rain), the misery level of this little adventure would approach that of waiting in line for a ride in Disneyland.

Fortunately, even with snow on the mountain (which we didn’t expect–but should have) and our heavy packs (besides the cameras, we brought a tent and sleeping bags) wearing us down; and even with one of us getting leg cramps during the first day, all went well in the end. We climbed up and back down and brought home some really nice pictures.

The photo above is a crop of the original picture shot by Chelo just below the peak and shows Chuzenjiko (the lake) on the background. Click for a bigger version. Notice we don’t have our day packs; we left them inside our tent halfway up the mountain. ^_^;;