With only one day left for my weekend (since Saturday was spent with students) and Rob was away with students on Sunday, a day hike with friends to refresh my body and mind was a welcome escape. Saoka has made hiking Mt Teine something of an annual event, but up until this year I haven’t been able to join her. So this was the day and the weather was perfect. We met Yoshie at Kikusui station and drove from there to the trail head of Mt. Teine. The carpark is large and then is a beautiful waterfall just below to start the waterfall themed dayhike. Most of the leaves were already on the ground leaving the trees bare and small song birds visible.
We started off remarking how warm the day was, it wasn’t long though until we decided to put on our gaiters as the track was quite muddy in parts. Saoka and Yoshie noted that the track looked quite different since they had last hiked, the flat track now had massive water run-off gouges through it in places. There has been plenty of heavy rain this year which has damaged the track a little. Gradually the track started to climb and we were soon stepping on mossy rocks rather than leaves, I started to wonder at what point I should put my stocks into my pack . I knew at some point there would be some rock scrambling.
I didn’t have to wonder for long, a massive mountain of rocks soon appeared and I decided now was the time to pack away my walking poles. We climbed up the rocks on all fours at times. The view when we stopped to look was breath-taking, or maybe my breath was already taken from the effort…After resting and then clambering to the top, I was pleasantly surprised by the relatively flat path onwards and we were walking through snow!
With the sun melting the snow, we were sloshing through a wet icy path and the snow melting off the sasa bamboo leaves made an abrupt movement and noise every so often making me think I was close to seeing a fox or racoon dog. Alas, no wild life sightings but lots of stopping and watching for signs of wild life. We climbed up to another rocky area and I thought happily that we had made it, the view was great and I was ready for lunch. Alas, it was not the top, but a great place to look out over Sapporo city. A kind man offered to take a group photo for us as I was fumbling with the self-timer settings. Then we walked past the rock tower, and onwards to the summit along a snow covered paved road through the various TV and radio buildings and antennas. Then low and behold a shrine at the top with a fenced area to eat lunch and enjoy views over the mountains. I was so excited to finally eat my seaweed and pickled plum rice-balls, food always tastes better at the top of a mountain when you are hungry!
The descent took us longer than you might expect, almost equal time to the way up. I am pretty careful going down, that makes me slower than most. We left the carpark at 9:30am in the morning, got to the top about 12:30 and were back at the car just before 4pm. We had a few breaks along the way and of course took our time to enjoy the views and lunch. For fit and unimpeded hikers I would budget 6 hours return, plus a bit for breaks. Hiking Teine is apparently best in mid October if you want to see the autumn leaves at their finest. We were a bit late for autumn colours, but instead we could see the birds and experience snow for the first time this season!