Sunday, September 21, 2008

Triple Falls, Columbia Gorge

Right in our own backyard, the myriad waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge beckon. A short weekend hike from Horsetail Falls led us past charming Pony Tail Falls and finally to this lovely treasure enveloped by the resplendent greenery of the Cascade Mountains.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kunashiri Island

Kunashiri Island, seen from the crest of Japan's Shiretoko Peninsula, floats dream-like on a sea of clouds (photo taken on September 6, 2008, 13:05 during our group's climb of the Rausu-dake volcano). The island, part of the Kuril chain, is claimed by both Japan and Russia and is administered by Russia. The mountain seen in the photo is the volcano Tyatya (Тятя), also known in Japanese as Chacha-dake (ちゃちゃだけ). For a view of the Kuril Islands dispute, from a Russian perspective, check out the documentary Between Two Shores at YouTube.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Shiretoko Sunset

Sunset over the Sea of Okhotsk from Utoro. A serene ending to our Hokkaido adventure!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Shiretoko National Park

The cloud-wreathed peaks of the Shiretoko Peninsula seen from Rausu-dake. The peak in the far distance (with the barely visible, pale-colored blemishes that look like snow) is the active volcano, Io-zan ("Sulfur Mountain"). The blemishes are volcanic deposits.

Comfort on the Sea of Okhostk

Evening glow on the facade of the Kifu Kurabu Hotel overlooking the Sea of Okhostk.


The Oshinkoshin Falls welcomed us to the Shiretoko Peninsula.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mysterious Mashu

A view of Mashu-ko which some say is the most beautiful lake in Japan. In the right background is the peak of Shari-dake. To the right is the peak of Kamuinupuri ("Divine Peak" in Ainu) the high point on a subsidiary volcanic cone of the Mashu caldera.

Ainu Culture at Akan-ko

Canoe of Ainu-inspired design on display at the Hotel Akan-ko Yuku no Sato Tsuruga.

Marimo Cocktail

Green beans disguised as marimo encased in gelatin presented in an ice house.

Akan National Park

View of the Ao-numa and the peak of Akan Fuji from Meakandake.

Dinner at Akan-ko

Dinner fit for a shogun!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hokkaido Microbrew

A Hokkaido microbrew called "Okhotsk Blue" made by the Abashiri Brewery in northern Hokkaido. They say it's made with water from sea ice! The beer is actually dyed blue which makes it a little strange. Best to drink it from the bottle so you don't see the color!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sushi Time

Kaitensushi at the Big Sun in Abashiri. Sushi on a conveyor belt.

Northern Latitudes

Pre-lunch stop at The Museum of the Northern Peoples outside Abashiri where Ainu culture is presented alongside that of other northern peoples.

Midori-numa, Daisetsu Kougen

Midori-numa (Green Pond) is one of several ponds and small lakes scattered through the Daisetsu Kougen (Daisetsu plateau). The "Takane-ga-hara" escarpment rises beyond.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Daisetsuzan National Park

View across the roof of Hokkaido from near the peak of Mamiya-dake. The hike across the Daisetsuzan from Sugatami Ponds to Kuro-dake has got to be one of the finest day treks in the world.