2008 March 30 Sunday.


Oh what a beautiful sunny day. 

By that I mean, the sky was so clear that I could vividly see the Taisetsu Mountain Range from my balcony window.   

On days like this, a drive towards the mountains is a must, if I have the time.   

And today, I had all the time in the world.   

Just a few minutes after 12:00 noon, I got a telephone call from Charles Hamel asking me if I had enough time to drive over to Shibinai and visit for a while.   

Of course I did, and I arrived there at about 14:15.   

Even though they do not yet have a telephone line nor internet service, they have just about everything else they need to live comfortably at their new home, thanks to all of the nice people who live nearby.   

Their kids were outside, playing with the neighbor's kids and having a wonderful time.   

We adults sat around the kitchen table talking about various things for about 40 minutes or so when I finally said; "Hey Charlie.   

We should all take a drive up towards the mountains, because the weather today is absolutely perfect for just such a drive."   

Charlie agreed and told me that his children had never seen snow before they came to Hokkaido.   

Even though there is still some snow on the ground around their house, as you can see from the photo above/left, the really deep snow can only be seen near the base of the mountains during this time of year.   

So, we all hopped into my Road Meister Toyota Noah mini van, and drove straight towards the mountains, passing by Chubetsu Dam and Chubetsu Lake along the way.   

First destination was Tenninkyo Hot Springs  天人峡温泉.   

We went as far as the road would take us and ended up at the parking lot of the Hotel 天人閣.   

We all got out and looked around as much as we could, but the hiking trail to the waterfalls was still full of snow and not passable.   

Next, we drove back down the hill until we got to the "Y" in the road that leads up to the Asahidake Hot Springs 旭岳温泉.   

We turned right and drove back up the hill until we got to the ropeway at Asahidake, but we didn't get out of the car there.

We just drove slowly around the area, enjoying the beautiful sights.   

After that, we drove back down the hill and on into Shibinai, with plenty of daylight left.   

On the way up to the mountains, we stopped along the road where there is a clear view of  Lake Chubetsu, and the kids had some fun walking around on the top of the deep snow, and even making and throwing some snowballs, for the first time in their lives.   

Yeah, it's cold isn't it.   

The Hamel Family members were all smart enough to wear long rubber boots, but I was crazy as usual wearing only sandals without socks.   

I did not climb around on the snow, for obvious reasons.   

Even so, the time I did spend out of the car walking around, was a bit cold for my feet.   

It will be getting warmer day by day from now on so, I won't be wearing any socks or shoes for many months.   

Simple is best.