CHAPTER 25: Hokkaido Nature Tours

CHAPTER 25: Hokkaido Nature Tours

September 6-9, 2018 This photo supplement tracks the events in CLIMB: Leaving Safe and Finding Strength on 100 Summits in Japan. The captions offer “extra features” that didn’t make it into the book. I’d wanted to visit Hokkaido ever since learning the names of Japan’s four major islands (from north to south: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu) in grade school–and I’d been looking forward to this trip in particular for over a year. On my most difficult days in chemo, I read and re-read the amazing itinerary Ido Gabay of Hokkaido Nature Tours designed for me, and the anticipation gave me strength

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CHAPTER 24: To Play With Crows

CHAPTER 24: To Play With Crows

August 14, 2018 This photo supplement tracks the events in CLIMB: Leaving Safe and Finding Strength on 100 Summits in Japan. The captions offer “extra features” that didn’t make it into the book. August is not the best month for mountain climbing in Japan. It’s hot, humid, and generally unpleasant in Tokyo, and while the more mountainous surrounding prefectures are somewhat better, it’s still a challenging (and potentially dangerous) time to exercise. That said, when you’re trying to climb 100 mountains in 365 days, you haven’t got the luxury of waiting on the weather, so with the summer heat in full swing,

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CHAPTER 22: Summit Dawn

CHAPTER 22: Summit Dawn

While it’s possible to climb up and back from the summit of Mt. Fuji in a day (and given the altitude of the Fujinomiya trailhead, I actually made several longer one-day round-trip hikes during the 100 Summits year), we opted for the more typical “overnight hike” in order to try and catch the sunrise from Fuji’s summit.

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CHAPTER 20: On Mount Inari

CHAPTER 20: On Mount Inari

Fushimi Inari Taisha winds up the slopes of Mt. Inari like a coiled dragon made of vermilion gates; while many visitors go no farther than the first station, Mom, Laurie, Kaitlyn, and I made the hour-long trek to the summit, as a “training climb” that would let me assess our potential pace for the upcoming (and far longer) climb of Fuji.

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CHAPTER 18: Goddess of All that Flows

Kōbō Daishi (774-835 – also known as Kūkai), the priest who brought Shingon Buddhism to Japan, sought the goddess’ protection for Kōyasan shortly after establishing his center for Shingon worship and study on the sacred mountaintop plateau in the early ninth century. In fact, Kōbō Daishi himself established the shrine on top of Bentendake. Although the site is small, the relationship between Benten/Benzaiten and Kōyasan continues to this day.

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CHAPTER 17: All Roads Lead to Kyoto

CHAPTER 17: All Roads Lead to Kyoto

Hieizan (Mt. Hiei) – July 2-3, 2018 This photo supplement tracks the events in Chapter 12 of CLIMB: Leaving Safe and Finding Strength on 100 Summits in Japan. The captions offer “extra features” that didn’t make it into the book. To break up the nearly 8-hour journey from Mt. Daisen in Tottori Prefecture to sacred Kōyasan in Wakayama, I made an overnight stop in the Kyoto area–but this time, I bypassed the ancient capital itself and headed into the mountains that ring Kyoto for an overnight stay (and climb) on Mt. Hiei. It only takes about 90 minutes to travel from Kyoto

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