My first trip up Toishi-yama was with a small group of friends from the now sadly defunct Hokkaido International Outdoor Club, led by that legend of the Hokkaido outdoors, Leon Roode. Unfortunately the weather did not favour us that day, and what started out as a light drizzle after leaving the bus stop soon turned into persistent heavy rain.
Undeterred, we headed up the path by the stream and onto the main ridge. By the time we reached the summit we were getting a bit damp, and in the chilly November temperatures it was no place to linger over lunch. The low cloud meant no views either. After wolfing down a few bites of whatever we had brought, a couple of the party elected to return by the same route. The rest of us continued on to traverse the mountain to the northern trailhead.
The descent was occasionally slippery and the small streams crossing the path had been turned by the incessant rain into obstacles to be waded or otherwise circumvented. Eventually we made it down onto the forest road and into the quarry, deserted and quiet on this gloomy Sunday afternoon. The path took us around and through the wet machinery, the dust that normally coated all the leaves now turned into a dirty white paste, and onto the exit road.
There was no bus from the closest stop but we were able to get one back to a subway station from a small park a few hundred yards down the road. The driver seemed unfazed by the large puddles that accumulated on the floor around our seats as we dripped and steamed on the twenty odd minute ride to the station.
Since then I’ve returned a number of times in good weather to enjoy the forest trails, sometimes cycling to the trailhead. Somehow it’s always that first trip that remains the most memorable though.