Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wet Camping at Yagen

Our hopes of having a dry weekend for camping were not met. At all. It basically rained continuously for the 30ish hours we stuck it out in Yagen Valley. Don't get me wrong- we had a good time and managed to do some stuff during the less-intense mistings, but we were all thoroughly soggy by the time we packed up to leave.

Most of our time was spent like this:
Huddled under the canopy, playing cards, games, eating, and twiddling our thumbs waiting for the rain to let up. We did have some really yummy food, so spending a lot of time eating really isn't anything to complain about.
We did manage to get a hike in one morning, and had a couple of slightly blood-pumping adventures along the way. First, we came across this dude:
From a distance, we had a hard time trying to decide what we were looking at. Initial guesses included wolf, goat, hyena, monkey(?!), cayote, and mutant forest creature. We dubbed it a "Yagen" and, not knowing if it was an animal that would enjoy eating us for lunch or if there were more of them lurking around, we walked quite tentatively through the forest for a while after seeing it.*
A few minutes later we came across a cave tunnel. A very dark, very creepy cave tunnel. If it had been me, I would have taken my chances going back through the Yagen's lair before venturing through this thing, but I didn't get my way, and before I knew it we were risking our lives venturing into an unknown darkness with countless possible terrors awaiting us inside. When I say this cave was dark, you have to understand something: there was NO LIGHT. At all. It was a black hole of cold, endless darkness. We had no flashlights, just the sad little orange glow of a camera button, and the periodic flash I fired off to make sure we weren't walking straight onto a bear's dinner plate.
Of all the creepy crawly creatures I'm sure were in that cave, we only saw one bat and a larger-than-life spider at the very end of the tunnel, which is for the best, I'm sure. It was one of the more creepy experiences of my life, and I must say I don't think I'll be venturing into many more mysterious dark forest caves anytime soon.
Those were the highlights of the camping trip (along with the good company of some new friends). The lowlights included the ultimate sogginess and the ankles full of insanely huge bug bites I came back with:
It was still a good trip though, and overall we were happy we went! Can't wait to try it again when the weather is better.

*After looking it up at home, it appears our Yagen animal was actually a Japanese Serow... which is a goat. Our "we came across a wild, dangerous forest beast" story is much less impressive now.

Some more pictures of Yagen Valley (which is a really pretty place!) HERE.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

A couple of days early, but I'll take this time to say: Enjoy your weekends, BBQ's, fireworks, fun and whatever festivities you have planned. As for us, we're going camping! Wish us luck- it might be a very wet trip if the past few days' weather is any indication. But we've made some new friends who just moved to Misawa and their excitement about getting out and seeing things is infectious, so hopefully it'll be an adventurous weekend. What's a little rain gonna hurt, anyway?

Happy 4th!