Held the Winter Geo-tour for the first time in 3 years!
Wednesday, March 16
Day 1. We kicked off the winter tour with a close-up look at Fuyushima kelp harvesting.
Local fishermen explained how they harvest kelp and the tools they use, for example, a hook and twister rod.
Kelp leaves go through a selection process and are cut to size.
The participants were pleased to learn about the kelp harvesting process and surprised to learn that the grade of kelp is determined by the color of the rope that is used to type up the kelp before shipping.
Next was a meal at Hotel Apoi Sanso made from local ingredients, and afterward, everyone participated in a star-gazing event led by the geopark guides.
The geopark guide used a projector to explain the different constellations and where you can find them during winter. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and we were unable to view the stars outside. Many of the participants said that they would like to come back on a clear night and search for the constellations.
Thursday, March 2. Today's main event was a winter trek up Mt. Apoi. Snow fell on Mt. Apoi overnight and was covered in a shining white blanket. Here we began the winter climb up Mt. Apoi.
The hiking guide stopped every so often to talk about the formation of Mt. Apoi and the various plant life.
The snow became deeper as we passed the 5th station. Our surroundings were completely white as we walked through the clouds. Due to the clouds, there wasn't any scenery to enjoy so we kept pushing forward.
The snow became deeper along the ridge and it was softer due to the warmer temperatures, burying our feet and sapping our strength as we continued.
Just as we were about to give up, the wind picked up and began to push the clouds away.
The ridgeline of the Apoi mountain mass finally appeared. Seeing the peak of Mt. Yoshida floating among the clouds made us feel like we were in a mountain range over 3,000 meters high.
The weather cleared for just that brief moment but it was a wondrous sight. The tour participants took a commemorative photo at the top of Mt. Apoi.
The tour was a great opportunity for others to experience the beauty of Mt. Apoi and the Mt. Apoi Geopark during winter.