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HIS Niesko Overnight Trip: Hiking
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On September 29th, HIS high school went on an overnight trip to the mountains in Niseko. Please enjoy one fast-group hiker's perspective.


His Niseko Overnight Trip: Hiking

Words by Ewan Keenan; Photos by the '23-'24 HIS Publications Team

On September 29th, HIS high school went on an overnight trip to the mountains in Niseko. The night before, they packed their bags, filled to the brim with snacks, clothes, and more snacks. The next day, by the time the bus had traveled twenty minutes, most everyone had already eaten half of their snacks. Almost all stock was finished by the time of arrival at the campgrounds. The only positive? The rain that had poured down the entire ride, had slowed to a light mist, allowing the students to set up camp for the night.

The next day after a quick breakfast, the group got on the bus, beginning their journey toward Shinsen-Numa

Shinsen-Numa (神仙沼) is one of the numerous marshes scattered around the Niseko mountains. The marsh is said to be one of the most beautiful in Japan. Niseko’s glorious changing seasons reflect on the water’s surface, creating beautiful views for both day and night. The calm atmosphere and cool mountain air lead to a sense of entering a sacred world.

As the crowd of students and teachers got off the bus, we were greeted with the pleasant smell of nature and a cool breeze; not too cold to be cold, not too warm to be hot. 

Next, we broke into three groups: slow, medium, and fast, each electing a different pace. I was in the fast group and will be sharing that perspective in this article. 

The hike began on a beautiful but wet wood-paved path. The rain from the night before, proved to make for a slippery start as we made our way toward the boardwalks leading to the marsh. 

The marsh was beautiful. Trekking through the wilderness of Niseko felt like something from The Hobbit or The Lord of The Rings (minus the part where there's a paved road).

At the end of the boardwalk, a small water break and photo shoot took place before we took off to our next destination. 

Our guide led us through the woods, and we arrived at the second lake: Naganuma. (長沼).

Apparently, we took the wrong turn and were not supposed to be there, but it was worth the views we got. After that, we found the correct path and descended a rocky, muddy path till we finally reached the midway point: the road.

Everyone was very happy when they saw that, thinking "We’re finally done!!”

While some thoughts were not quite as positive: “That was he%$!”

But no matter the perspective, the truth was we were far from done. We were only halfway through. 

With a miserable 15-minute break, everyone began to walk again. 

It was another hour until we reached the next checkpoint: a former sulfur mine. There was a distinct smell and small yellow stones all around us. The ground looked volcanic, with colors ranging from yellow to red; from black to white.

By that time, the fast group's pace was behind schedule. If we were able to make the Iwaonuppuri peak, we would need to move faster. Realizing this, we shortened our break and continued with hopes of somehow living up to our fast-group goal. But in the end, we had lost too much time in our after-marsh detour. That, coupled with the broken shoes of one of our teachers, spelled the end of our peak plans.

Realizing our time had run out, we settled on taking the direct route back. Even with the shortened route, exhaustion spread. We were nearly out of hope. But then one hiker in the front shouted, “I SEE THE CAMPSITE!!!”

We all rushed down the biggest staircase we had ever seen in our lives and returned to the campsite for a delicious lunch waiting for us. No peak performance that day but at least we were met by gorgeous weather and plenty of beautiful views to remember for years to come.

For more snippets from the 2023 Huskies Green and White days, check out our official Instagram:

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