On our way to the most Eastern and wild part of Hokkaido: Shiretoko national park. Aka "the end of the world"
We arrange snow shoes and set out to a hut that is supposed to be somewhere close to the pass.
Fully packed with matrasses, sleeping bag, cooking gear and food we are ready to enter this winter wonderland! Oh and don't forget the shovel for digging our way into the hut!
Deep into the winter forrest.
Happy to have the snowshoes, after the fresh snow of the last few days. We wouldn't have made it otherwise.
Shiretoko's bear density is among the highest in the world! So we bought this bell to make them aware of our arrival to avoid close encounters.
Then we arrive at a wide field and spot our first wild life of Shiretoko National Park.
A bit closer. So beautiful!
The sun was able to melt a little part of grass, so all the deer flocked there to eat some of the uncovered grass. Also these youngsters were happy that spring was coming!
While the rest was feasting on the little patch. This male was scouting for his own.
A huge eagle hunting for a nice fresh fish. Siberian drift ice in the back.
A frozen waterfall stretches all the way into the sea, such an amazing sight. So much snow and ice directly at the coast.
Time to head back into the forrest and continue our path to the mountain hut.
Woohoo we love to hike in these winter wonderlands! So peacefull, quiet and magical.
Yes we made it to the hut! Wow what a view! And the hut also looks much nicer from the outside as we expected.
It even has windows!
Let's dig our way into it, happy that we had our shovel with us.
We made it in, and there is wood available. Let's drop our bags and see if we can make it to the pass before sunset.
Walking up parts of the road that will open in a few weeks. They have to dig their way through meters of snow to uncover the road.
Impressive to see the amount they need to clear to make this pass working again.
We are happy that the weather is relatively calm. There can really be fierce conditions here, seen from the snow formations on everything.
The snow was even able to grasp these chains and form amazing sculptures onto them.
The formations keep amazing us. This one almost looks like there was a huge magnetic field ;-)
Just before the pass we are treated on a bit of sun, showing the colors of the valley. Stunning, no?
We made it to the pass... Pure love, haha ;-)
The sun is setting, we are a bit slow and need to head back fast. Hopefully we can find the hut back in time.
One last view on the valley, somewhere down there is our hut for the night!
Yes we made it!
From the inside we see the amount of snow reaching up to the window. Let's start the fire!
Our Russian matches from Tajikistan come to good use. Funny to use them here, nice match with the setting.
The wood is dry and the fire starts quickly. Yes!
Marleen brings in some snow to melt for our water supply and diner.
It takes a while before the snow is melted and the hut begins to warm slowly.
Our dinner for tonight, Japanes (Indian) curry with potato puree.
Time to warm up in front of the stove. We really like this kind of adventure and basic life style (for a while ;-))
Time to make the bed, happy that there are extra blankets there.
The next morning the stove is glowing red, snow is melting again to make tea and oatmeal.
Outside it is snowing, but we decide to realize one of our missions for this winter. Build a kamakura (Iglo)!
We learned a lot, while making it. But the main lesson was to not only have a lot of snow, but also the snow needs to be compact. Trying to make powder snow compact was not really working. But we almost finished it! But the it really started to snow heavily and we needed to head back to our van before sunset.
Yes we made it! Our own little hut. So much fresh snow, we decided to sleep here before heading down. The van was only very much tilted so first find a flat spot.
But the roads were very slippery and a lot of snow, so before that we needed to put our chains on. Not the nicest thing to do after a big hike ;-)
But the beer tasted that much better! Wow Shiretoko National Park... you are amazing! So much NATURE, we were surprised with the amount of wildlife.