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This year, we are pivoting and introducing the all-new Green & White Plan! The overall goal of the Green & White Plan is to let students experience the outdoors and enjoy health and well-being. This plan allows students to access and enjoy the peak of Hokkaido’s green and white seasons while giving them choices for what they want to do. Sapporo is the fifth-largest city in Japan, yet it has access to all four seasons right outside our doors, so why not take advantage of it?
The Adventures We Had: Huskies Green and White Days 2023
Words by Ellie McGuire & Theodore Brennan; Photos by the '23-'24 HIS Publications Team
When fall ends and winter has yet to fully come, some people groan at the time in between. Instead of groaning, Huskies look forward then back, pivoting from one to the next. We look forward to the upcoming snowy season of Hokkaido while pivoting back to remember the beautiful, exhausting, challenging days of our recent past. Beginning September 15th with the all-school Cross Country Day and ending October 6th on volcanic Tarumae, we reminisce over our Green Season days. Huskies ran, biked, hiked, and braved the tips of tall mountains beside the woods where they chatted with friends while cooking over a fire. These adventures you are hearing about are our high school Huskies' Green and White days.
Before we embarked on our three adventures, the students were given a choice: three tracks, and three groups — light hiking, moderate hiking, or cycling. Choosing the right path was important. The sweet spot between joy with friends and just-right exertion was key. After all the sorting dust settled, our high school students were ready to face the adventures ahead.
Yunosawa Creek Hike
For the hiking groups, our first trial came in the form of the roaring waters of the Yunosawa Creek Traipse on September 21. Around 9:50, we started to enter the creek one by one. All was going well until the first obstacle came into view: a creek. With quick steps, many students tried their best to work around the water, but no matter what they did, they could not escape the fate that was destined for them, soggy socks. After many more creeks and triple the number of groans, everyone finally made it to the resting spot where they ate lunch, swam in the creek, and even played Wii sports on a laptop. After a relaxing break, together as a group, everyone trudged back up to where the buses were parked where many sang the whole trip back to the school.
Shiroishi Cycling Road
While the hiking groups loaded the bus, the cyclers were checking air pressure and bike conditions, making sure they'd be ready for a ride that would take all day. The ride from school to Kitahiroshima and back would total 57 kilometers, a total of 28.5km each way! The cycling Huskies followed the Toyohira River for about 10km, then transferred to the Shiroishi Kokoroad (白石こころーど) for nearly 20km more, ending up on a bench just outside Kitahiroshima Station. There, they had lunch and got ready for the trip back. The weather was perfect: a sunny day with a slight breeze, along with the heartwarming greens of Hokkaido’s nature surrounding our cyclists. They even got to see the new ES CON FIELD, the new baseball field for the Hokkaido Fighters! For some, the nearly 60k ride was no problem, having participated in the Happy Trails Bicycle Club, but for others, it was a challenge—and for one, the ride came with a surprise. With less than 5 kilometers left, with the frequently blowing wind of the Toyohira River in the cyclists's faces, for a second year in a row on a long ride, Toshi Gotoda got a flat tire. Fortunately, his family was nearby with a vehicle large enough to transport him and his bike home to be repaired for another day. (Check out our final club ride on Instagram!) With sore legs and relief, the rest of the cyclists arrived back at HIS just thirty minutes after the end of the school day—exhausted but proud of their achievement.
After the fun trip at Yunosawa and Kitahiroshima, students started to prepare for the next adventure awaiting them: the Niseko overnight trip. With sleeping bags and backpacks in their arms, high school students marched their way onto the buses before departing for Niseko. However, during the bus ride a few students noticed the rain starting to pour from the sky. With weary eyes, some hoped for the rain to stop by the end of the bus ride. Once everyone had arrived at the grassy green fields of the campsite, many helped unload all of the equipment while others went out to claim a grassy area for their team. After tents were set up with clouds settling under the darkening horizon, students grabbed their pots, pans, and ingredients to show off their excellent cooking skills. With arms linked together, we saw many great feats of tossing, mixing, and laughter echoing throughout the woods as the last cloud disappearing in the sky signaled the end of our first starry day at Niseko.
With many loud shouts and squeals of joy, people woke up with groans of annoyance. As students realized that it had rained all night yesterday, many cringed at the feeling of soggy shoes while the lucky ones who had thought of bringing their shoes into their tent jokingly made fun of the unfortunate. These small details combined signaled the start of our final day at Niseko: the hiking day. After a quick breakfast and change of clothes, a bus drove students to the start of the trail where they were once again split into groups; this time only two. The first part of the hike was a relaxing trail on a boardwalk, surrounded by the peaceful noises of the forest. Although there were a few twists and turns, students and teachers safely made it to the end of the walk where a quick break was appreciated by everyone alike. But, to some students' dismay, this was only the beginning of the hike. As they made their way through mountains made of rocks, creeks gushing through the path, and a sharp decline filled with mud, are athletic Huskies did not give up and prevailed against whatever Mother Nature decided to throw at them. With sweat, short puffs of air, and cries of joy, students ran back to the campsite where many collapsed knowing that they were the champions who did not give up even when the mud literally got tough.
Tarumae Mountain Hike
Our final adventure of the green season was the long-awaited Tarumae hike. With tears of joy or grief, as previous students recalled past memories, everyone loaded onto the bus for the final time in the season of fall. As it was a two-hour drive, students found many interesting ways to pass the time, such as sleeping, singing, playing video games, and even board games such as Monopoly. With an eventful bus ride fresh in their memories, groups of students started to brave the trail of the last mountain. With the Tarumae Peak Run being the first to leave, they started their journey with jumps, leaps, and laughs of excitement as they prepared their feet for the running to come. The second to leave was the Tarumae Scenic Group which consisted of many of our Senior Huskies. With fewer leaps and jumps but even more enthusiasm, they made their way towards the volcanic sight-seeing part of the mountain. Although with delay, the last group of our light hikers set out to complete their goal of reaching the peak. With heavy breaths and many steps, all of our students made the final leap in completing the Green Season adventures.
Overall, our HIS Green Days were a huge success with Huskies exercising and having a blast with their good friends. A huge thanks to our athletics department for funding these fun adventures and we hope that our upcoming White Days will proceed smoothly with many more giggles in tow.
For more small clips from the 2023 Huskies Green Days, check out our official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/his.huskies/
Read more about how important the outdoors is to us here!
Read more about the initial prototype of the Green & White Plan here!
- Huskies Athletics
- Huskies Outdoors
- Huskies Wellness