It was the first Monday of our two-week ‘workation‘, and we started off the week in style – a 3am wake-up to we could drive to Kiritappu, have a paddle, and get back to our cabin at Lake Furen by 9am for remote work. We got to the put-in at just after 4am, just as the land was being lit up for the day. As we were unloading the canoe and gear, a friendly local drove up and had a chat.
“You’re up early,” he chimed. “Great time to see the birds!” he continued.
He regaled me with some stories of his escapades in the wetlands and then carried on his way.
We knew it was going to be a fairly quick trip, so we started out by paddling a ways upstream. It didn’t take long before we had painted ourselves into a corner, and had to paddle backwards downstream to get to where it was wide enough to turn around. Even then, it was a tight squeeze.
We got the boat turned around, and carried on our way our way downstream. It was eerily calm, with a low mist hanging over the landscape. Misty Kiritappu at its finest.
“This is sort of like Bibi River on steroids,” I remarked to Haidee. Bibi River is a wetland-like river just a few kilometers away from Hokkaido’s main airport – New Chitose Airport.
Just like Bibi River, there was long, head-high grass on both sides of the river. Unlike the Bibi River, however, here on the Biwase River there’s a vastly deeper feeling of wilderness. Carefully standing up in the canoe, we could peek over the grass, and get eye-to-eye with curious deer on the wetland plains.
Further down the river, we sneaked up on glorious white-tailed eagles. They were mostly nonchalant, only giving us the occasional disinterested gaze.
Aware of needing to be back ‘at work’ before 9am, we turned around at the 3.5km mark and made our way back upstream, against a receding tide.
We agreed that we could happily get used to this kind of before-work morning exercise.