Wednesday, January 19, 2011

雪 (Snow...)

We live in a place that doesn't get snow. It's kind of sad...Christmas was an odd experience. And I am finding it difficult to believe that it is, in fact, January (一月). As a Minnesotan/Wisconsinite, this feels about like October (十月)to me. Karl and I finally decided to turn our cute little space heater on this month. Since it's, you know, chilly....ish.

So when we went up to Gunma earlier this month we were positively delighted to see snow. We skiied and went hiking around on a snowy mountain top. It was splendid.

The place we went cross country skiing is actually a golf course.  We were totally thrilled to learn that the ski pass and rental was only 1000円。(That's around 12-ish dollars.) There was one minor draw back to this awesomeness.  Our American sized feet.  Karl and I  both needed the biggest ski-boot available. They barely fit me. Which means Karl suffered through three hours of CC skiing in boots one centimeter to small. But there was fun to be had in the snow! So this little issue did not stop him.

Kusatsu is in a mountain range.  The reason that the hot springs exist is because one of these mountains also happens to be an active volcano. I might have mentioned that before. Anyways, it's been years since it last erupted, so there is nothing to worry about. 

We rode a rope way up one of the mountains to walk around and take in the view. It was spectacular.

 There is a famous crater lake on the top of the volcano. It is famous because of its high acidity. It has a pH value of 1.0. Supposedly the highest in the world.  

In the summer, it is possible to hike over to get a closer view of the lake. Maybe we'll go back to check it out then.

It really was great to experience real winter time for at least a little while. Being on top of a snow covered mountain with the sun shining was very cold but very beautiful. If only I had had my mukluks.

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