(German version on page 2 :))
A few years ago I started going on travels during my birthday. It doesn’t have to be anything extraordinary, just 2-3 days somewhere away from the usual crowds, where there is delicious food and (natural) hot springs (as this is perfect in winter), and I am more than satisfied. After we went to Gunma last year, for this year we had planned a short trip to Nagano Prefecture. And we decided to not only go snowboarding this time, but to eventually also try out snowshoeing. There are quite a few companies providing such tours, so after a short google search, we booked a tour for an early Sunday afternoon, shortly after our arrival in Hakuba (which is more or less famous as the site for the Winter Olympics in 1998).
We booked a tour for approximately 2.5 hours on Mt. Iwatake, which promised to be a cozy beginner route. Of course there are also snowshoe-daytrips on steeper routes, but we thought, for the first time a more relaxing route would be nice. So, with our snowshoe equipment and our tour leader `Bini-chan`, a funny elderly lady, we at first went up the mountain via a Gondola lift, before we started trekking after a short introduction on how to walk with snowshoes. One of the things that I love about snow regions like Nagano are the scenic mountain landscapes. On top of the mountains, I can’t get enough of just looking at the beautiful contrast of mountain peaks, cloud formations and the valley deep below in the distance. Now, with snowshoes, I was finally able, (in contrast to snowboarding) to bring my camera with me in order to actually take pictures that do the beauty around me justice. In fact, our leisurely hike, during which our snowshoe leader also told us many interesting facts about the trees, plants and animals in the region, was the best opportunity to take pictures in the snow. But I can also recommend snowshoeing to anyone, who is not so much into winter sports or who would like to recover a little bit from muscle soreness caused by too much of such sports. I any case, I had a great time, and I am now ready for a snowshoe day trip, as well (in the next winter season…);)