Open Mountain Hike
From the south, last autumn.
I finally did it yesterday. I arrived at the top of Mt. Iwaki for the first time this year. I took the usual route for the first half, and then cut across mountain, avoiding the upper ridge. It was easier that way and cut around thrity minutes off the length of the hike.
The weather wasn't what I expected it to be. It was supposed to be sunny, but the whole sky was run with a thin layer of cloud and the sun was one of those you could actually stare at without damaging your eyes. I had the view just as I would on a sunny day though. The most notable part of the landscape yesterday was the many plumes of smoke from the burning of rice fields all the way up the Tsugaru plain. From such a distance they seemed completely motionless, like in a picture.
Didn't spend much time at the top. I wanted to have some time to think, but I started late and found that it was already knocking on four o'clock by the time I'd got there. One funny thing I saw was that the little hut at the top which sells crappy, and extremely expensive souvenirs to tourists in the summer had collapsed under the weight of the snow. Either that or it had been knocked down by the wind off the coast.
There's a nice feeling with cutting across ridges in the springtime. Places you can only observe from a distance any other time become just a short detour across the snow. Seeing a mountain never really gives you much of an idea of it's real size, not like when you can cover it all on foot.
I forgot my camera again, so here's another picture from last year.