New moon 2:00pm Jan 13th. JST
Step Follows Step.
一合目 Ichigōme (1st station)It slowly dawns on me — morning is already here as a rarely set alarm drags me from my dreams. Cat rouses from the depths of my bed, stretches and impatiently sits and stares.
The baselayers sitting folded beside the bed are donned in haste, it’s a cold 2°C. Cat strategically repositions beside his empty bowl, anticipating the first of several breakfasts.
Cat fed — drink water, grind coffee, drip water, drink coffee, toilet and organise gear. Splitboard collecting cat hair —that won't do— climbing-skins and bindings pre-applied to save time and fingers later. Don’t forget water.
Time getting on, should’ve packed the car last night. Juggling my —don’t remember it being this heavy before— backpack, splitboard, and coffee filled thermos, attempt an awkward squeeze-exit out the front door — stopping cat’s escape with right foot.
Ice on windscreen driving towards the mountains hiding behind clouds full of snow — wasn’t it supposed to be clear? Road quiet and car silent as my iPhone refuses to acknowledge a full charge.
Short stop at the combine for the obligatory onigiri, mixed nuts and why not — a bar of chocolate for emergencies ;)
Parking full, circle through the village to find another space. ¥400, that’ll do. Toilet inside house —don’t mind if I do— past the “sumimasen” (excuse me) wife in kotatsu watching television while eating a bento. “Kiotsukete” (be careful) I will, thanks.
八合目-3°C, feels like -6°C. Aizen & pikkeru ready fellow upward-journeymen stride to the trailhead. Bow before passing beneath the tori, step from asphalt to icy trail.
It’s a slippery switchback — splitboard catching on branches — snow falling on head — hike until ichigōme (1st station of ten). Wondering why I’m doing this?
Remembering why I’m doing this... step follows step, follows step.
Wish you were here.
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Ibuki Mountain, Shiga, Japan 2021
This is an Arukari Postcard emailed out every new moon.
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