Sooner after Haidee and I started our jobs as tenured faculty at Hokusei Gakuen University (here in southeastern Sapporo City), the university staff outdoor club caught wind that we were into the outdoors. So they invited us to come on a mountain bike trip through the Nopporo Forest Park, only 5km from the campus. The day started out damp, and only got more damp as we cycled deeper into the woods, but it was warm enough.
We started off cycling through the central gravel road that cuts though the park from west to east (this one). Haidee and I often cycle this road as a quick blat through the woods to a very nice cafe on the eastern side of the park (here). They have very nice wood-fired oven pizza.
The first section of this route is the most challenging, with a couple of flights of stairs and some steep-ish dirt trails that can be slippery and muddy when wet. Once this bit was out of the way, however, we were spat out into a momentary flash of civilization – we were now cycling in front of the Hokkaido Historical Village and Hokkaido Museum. The memorial tower was also in our sights, so with a light rain beginning to fall, we headed in that direction.
We weren’t planning on having lunch so early on in the trip, but it was raining, and we happened to be next to the memorial tower, where there is a nice covered area with public toilets and a few picnic tables. The decision was made to have an early (10:45am, to be exact) lunch. Prof. Tsunoda fired up his Jetboil, and I brewed up some coffee on my pop-can stove (DIY instructions by Tom Allen here).
It was still lightly raining when we finally decided to push on. The weather didn’t seem to be getting any better, so we pulled on some wet weather gear and resigned to get wet. Even so, the forest was green and beautiful.
Soon after this last photo , it started to rain in earnest. We pushed on, keeping the page up to keep warm.
By the time we made it most of the way back to our starting point, the rain had mercifully stopped, and we even got some warm rays of sunshine. We took the opportunity to take a group picture before it started raining again. We then wended our way through quiet residential streets towards Mori-no-yu Onsen (here) for a well-earned soak.