August 18, 2007

Gondola to an Alpine Meadow and Hike to a Peak

We survived, as you can see, our one day camping trip. Andrew and I along with his friend Lena and her mom, Lelani, drove into the mountains, camped the night and left early (the kids made sure of that) to climb one of the- thankfully not too high-- mountains that form a chain of peaks know as Yatsugatake, with Akadake (2,899 meters above sea level) as the main peak.

Our peak, Kitayokodake, was 2,480 meters (8,136 ft). We had very good weather and the black flies from our campsite had left enough flesh on our legs to make it up and down.

The views, plants, butterflies, and mountain panoramas were beautiful! I'm posting the pictures so that, after everyone forgets how their legs felt at the bottom, we can look at them and plan another trip.

A further note on the black flies mentioned above:

I was used to 'No-see-ums' in North America, but these had a more painful bite and caused swelling and bleeding, even if we didn't scratch.

So I wasn't overly surprised to see this article in the news today:

A plague of black flies has prompted authorities in Spain to issue warnings to cover up and avoid riverside areas in the early morning and dusk. The fly is only two to three millimeters long-- much smaller and harder to spot than most mosquitoes-- but its voracious blood-sucking bite sent more than 2,000 people to hospital last year in just one area of Spain. In Switzerland an attacking swarm reportedly killed a calf.

(taken from a report by Dale Fuchs, The Guardian)

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