She’s done well. Tomorrow Hana turns 10.
But after yet another fast ascent of Kaikomagatake in June, followed a few days later by Gongendake, her limping was painful to watch. The vet’s diagnosis is arthritis. (Well, that makes two of us.)
So, Hana retires from the big mountains. Over the course of a decade, she must have been in the mountains about a thousand times. That’s a lot of mileage on those stubby little legs.
To stop her deteriorating too quickly, I think she needs some exercise and stimulus, so we’ll continue to climb some smaller hills at a more leisurely pace. Like going for breakfast with Kin (my wife) at dawn last week – it may look like a beach, but that’s Mt. Hinata (1600m). What a wonderful companion Hana has been. She deserves a good retirement.
Blue sky, a gentle breeze, mild winter temperatures.
In short, everything perfect except for our rashly optimistic footwear of training shoes.
Our feet were sodden within minutes of running through yesterday’s heavy snowfall, and frozen rigid after 4 hours of wading through it. Richard and I turned around just 150 meters short of the summit, but it was still a great day.
I awoke at 3 am to check the conditions.
From the north window, I could see the Yatsugatake mountains and stars above.
From the south window, the Southern Alps were bathed in moonlight.
Using the excuse that I had a mountain of work waiting to do, I took the shorter Yatsugatake option, 1000 meters of ascent rather than 2000 m. What a mistake.
It was snowing as we left the car, and was blowing hard and -15 C at the ridge.
That pose means painful feet. Any thoughts of bagging the peak were quickly abandoned.
The temptation has simply been too great. Blue skies, cool air, and mountains everywhere.
We’ve done perhaps a dozen routes in the last month, including Fuji without a flake of snow (winter conditions are now over a month late).
Not surprisingly, my broken finger is not healing. Who cares.