We have four full days to play in Sapporo. While P2 remained in the weather, I received leave permission to return to the snow shoe site known as Hokkaido warning in Nopporo, a safer choice for crossing the mountain.
The train to Shinrin-kooen was filled often and quickly that morning with locals, young and old. Now an expert in knowing the park’s entry point, I have snow boots ready to climb Nopporo within fifteen minutes of coming down. Yesterday’s cross-country skier track (the owner of the track was an older Japanese couple I met) remained, as well as our messy frozen contribution.
Snow in the forecast that day, which will likely cover everything. The increasing height of the city makes a difference in the depth of snow in Nopporo. After walking fifteen kilometers, I saw a frozen lake, followed in the footsteps of several others (sometimes) up many steep snow steps, and passed several older Japanese men walking up in their boots. The undulating landscape is beautiful, and certainly an interesting alternative to walking on the river bank in the city, as I tried the day before.
P2 is still not much after lunch when I return. The snow began to fall heavily and I hoped to see Otaru in a storm above the station area, one of the many sights on Otaru from a high place. I drove through the hilly road. This decided for me that being closer, and in softer snow, far safer.
‘Eat in’ (thanks for the discount hall Japanese food hall) for the next few nights says everything – Recovery of P2s happens quite slowly and some plans have to wait until the next trip.
Otaru has been suggested as a snow boots location but without being available on the web to provide guidance, I planned several options, starting with Shioya or Otaru. Of course there was some leg work along the tedious road to get to where I had to start, finding a tunnel and some cool residential and industrial roads to get me to point A.
After an hour of walking from the station, I started riding on the very snowy streets behind a large cemetery on the hillside, with one of the best views in the city. So I thought. Looking out onto the western Otaru ski field it would be the perfect place to rest.
About 500 meters, I approach the top of the Schloss Hotel, see the lighthouse, the distant Sapporo industry, and the Sea of Japan. Fortunately, maps.me dotted lines are in fact not closed. The adventure begins with wearing what is important snow boots and poles. Going up, I climbed for about a kilometer, following many types of animal prints (foxes, rabbits and rabbits I think) and a small gutter below them. As soon as you see, the trail decreases and really disappears, that’s where the importance of having a GPS is. That is the northern aspect
from this path, and the snow cliffs as high as a few meters, he had swallowed what surrounded the steep bank. I decided to go back, until I saw (ten meters) a low wooden fence and stairs.
I concluded Shimoakaiwa, not a mountain monster, but because of seeing the coastline, this experience of shoeling on the seashore was the first! The trail then cleaves to the nearest road, or as I chose, begins to rise steadily and is well marked for 1 km up. I understand I have reached heights that are almost greater than the nearest ski field.
Everything looks. I managed to reach Mount Akaiwa, and felt very lucky to have frozen footsteps from other people, plus many animals, to guide me down the steep slope. From a mini temple at the end of the path, I took the snowy rural road, which leads another kilometer to the Otaru settlement. Add 4 km more and I walk back to Otaru train station. Now I have a story to tell P2. My research ‘.
Waking up early after an average sleep, I left P2 in a state of lack of energy for sunrise in Nopporo, after arranging a late check out. Birdwatchers came out in droves, with their cameras and spotting equipment. Minus ten Celsius did nothing to disturb the lives of humans or birds on this sunny morning.
In between our check out and train at 2 pm, we took a walk in Odori Park, where the preparation of the snow statue was going well. The carved ice base unit is placed on the side, with walls of snow buildings thanks to bulldozers and scaffolding. This is what will become one of the main and highly decorated attractions that we saw in 2016.