At Harvest, we’ve planned out a snowshoeing course that takes you through the marvelous woods that are renowned in Nagano Prefecture, where you will have views of the vast Japan North Alps. There’s nothing like snowshoeing across freshly fallen snow, keeping an eye out for animal tracks. It’s the kind of enjoyment you can only get from snowshoeing. Our course takes you into a mountain area that’s private property, so unfortunately we can’t describe it specifically on our website.
We first started hiking on snowshoes in the 1997/98 winter season. Up until then, we had enjoyed mountain skiing and telemark skiing (we still continue to enjoy these sports). Although they share a lot of elements in common, they require very different types of skills. Simply put, anyone who can walk can enjoy snowshoeing. That’s not true of skiing. You need to master certain skills in order to be able to ski, although mastering those skills is certainly a lot of fun in itself. Obviously, with snowshoeing, you won’t start out by trekking up mountains. But if you’re walking across fields that are safe for hiking, you can experience the full pleasure of the sport. You’ll be able to handle the ups and downs of walking in the woods with no problem. Walking on top of snow is truly a lot of fun.
Of course, one of the biggest pleasures of hiking is having lunch. We take along a small gas burner and provide warm ham and cheese that we’ve smoked in our own smokehouse, homemade bread, and of course, no lunch is complete without beer and wine! If the weather is good, we spend a leisurely hour having lunch. If you don’t go for any other reason, you should definitely try snowshoe hiking for the lunch alone.
We go any place where there’s snow on the ground. But snow by itself isn’t all that we enjoy. We go into woods where you can enjoy the ambience of trees around you, open fields of snow, the scenery of Japan’s vast North Alps, moderate uphills and downhills, and so much more. It’s combining all of those elements that makes snowshoe hiking so much fun, and so satisfying. The route that we designed takes us into woods, with the permission of the land owner, and to places that are only known by the local people. You can also enjoy low-lying village forests. Forest roads that are drivable when there’s no snow are transformed into a whole different world when snow accumulates. You can go places on snow that aren’t accessible in the summer because of forest growth. We’ve plotted out a number of favorite courses that take you to places such as these.
One other thing is that snowshoeing is easy on the knees, because the snow forms a cushion, and you use hiking sticks. If you enjoy walking in the mountains in the spring, summer and autumn, but you haven’t ventured out in the snow, this is your chance to relax and enjoy the snow under optimum conditions.
To tell you the truth, things are pretty quiet in Azumino in the winter. That was why we put together some plans for things that we could enjoy doing with our guests.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
■Telephone: (0263) 83-4317
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