Ignoring our still trembling feet from yesterday’s effort, we decided to start climbing up to mountain Kurodake. At 10 a.m we stood waiting for the cable car. The Kurodake mountain is 1984 meter high. The ropeway took us to the upper station and from there we took the short trail through the forest to another viewpoint. Finally, a chair lift took us to the 7th Station. Now we had a steep climb up to the summit.
The summit is far…
Today the surroundings were totally different than those of Mt. Asahi. This side of the Daisetsuzan mountains was covered with thick forest -trees, bushes, seasonal plants – covering impressive cliff formations and grey boulders. Millions of bees and flowers in yellow and purple and white covered the mountain. It felt as if the air is buzzing. ‘ Anti bears’ bells, hanging from almost every backpack were filling the air with every step. The trail curled up steep, taking small turns, built of wooden stairs in different heights, some 20 centimeters and others of 40 centimeters. Sweating and panting we made our way. After 50 minutes the climb felt like eternity. Hot, humid… after 60 it felt like hell. My knees screamed for rest but the summit seemed to disappear from our eyes. As we were going up, envy of those hikers who were descending, we exchange friendly ‘konichiwa’ and learned that the summit is not far. All in all it took us two hours to reach the cloudy peak. Few hikers were resting on the bare rock, waiting for the fog to clear away and reveal the view. We opened a chocolate bar, took off our shoes and joined them. A brave squirrel joined us in the hope to get a crumb.
Short rest and we headed down the other side towards the large Ohachidaira Caldera that lies in the center of the Daisetsuzan mountains. The trail connects Kurodake to Mount Asahi but we followed it only for 800 meters, enjoyed the view of the summits around us, the patches of white snow, the small pink flowers. We climbed back to the summit and began the steep hiking downhill. It went faster than we thought and after 90 minutes we were at the base of the mountain. It was almost three o’clock, we were hungry but still had a three hours drive ahead of us to Akan national Park. So again- chocolate bar, ice cream and we were on our way to the Tsuruga wings hotel at Lake Akan