Sunday, May 29, 2011

Another (sort of) Failed Camping Trip

Why, rain, WHY do you get us every time?! (see our Yagen camping experience last summer)

Corey and I and some friends of ours decided that camping sounded good for this 4-day weekend. Lake Tazawa in Akita prefecture (3.5ish hours south of Misawa) was our destination this time around. Tazawako is Japan's deepest lake at 423 meters and has a campsite situated right on the shore. It's beautiful, but a little pricey (8700 yen, or ~$107 for 6 people and 3 tents for 2 nights) and is laid out a bit inconveniently. And, as we discovered, has at least one giant hornet flying around its grounds. Ew. Other than that, it's a nice location (I'd imagine especially in the summer when it's warm enough to be cavorting on the lake all day).

The plan was to stay for 2 nights. After a full week of sunny weather, we arrived optimistically to beautiful, warm, blue skies at around 1pm and got to setting up camp. After all the work was done and we headed down to the lake shore to start the fun and relaxation, dark threatening storm clouds rolled in and stole the sun away. Luckily the rain did manage to hold out for the evening. A few of the guys spent a very brief amount of time kayaking on the lake, us photo buffs spent time taking lots of pictures, we got in a good game of Bohnanza (have you played Bohnanza? If not, you're missing out on loads of bean-y fun!), we had a good meal, and roasted marshmallows around a strange, makeshift campfire (this place provided an odd cement U-shaped apparatus at each site to build a small fire inside of, but many campgrounds in Japan don't let you have fires at all, or regulate them to one communal fire pit somewhere in the campground. It's kind of a bummer.). So all in all, we had a decent (if slightly chilly) half-day of camping.

The rain began shortly after a rather large earthquake rattled everyone awake during the night (fyi, being woken up to a loud, strong earthquake while lying in a tent directly on the ground is a little disconcerting). We woke to complete and utter sog (as in, the state of deep, saturated sogginess). It was quickly decided that the outlook for another 24 hours of camping in these conditions was poor, so we schlepped our muddy, water-logged tents, chairs, coolers, canopies, etc back into our cars and high-tailed it back to Misawa. The drive back was something special, but I think I'll save that for another post...

Maybe someday we'll make it through an entire camping trip.

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