(Photo: My rather failed attempt at a group photo. Note to self: A backpack don't act as a good tripod.)
We had a few days off of work because of the Golden Week holidays. So, Yuuzo suggested that we go to one of the mountains near Lake Biwa named "Biwako Valley" which is really a winter ski slope on the top of the mountain (Confused yet?) and a big playground the rest of the year. Hiroshi, Nathan, and Hannah were about to come so we had a nice little group.
The idea was to take the gondola up to the top of the mountain and play around a while. Then, pig out at the all you can eat buffet. Finally, we would take a leisurely stroll down the mountain trail.
So, everything went right on schedule until we got on the path down the mountain. There was a bit of a worry with my ankle being weak but most mountain trails I have been on in Japan been rather level, well planned and well maintained. But this … was more like trailblazing down a washed out gully. The freak rainstorm that followed didn't help much either.
(Photo: Hiroshi taking a break on the trail. Notice Hiroshi’s ingenuity using the picnic sheeting as a raincoat and holding one of his trusty walking stick that he found on the way. Good thinking!)
In all honestly, it was a good experience. We got to see how we each react in a stressful situation and the rest of the afternoon was quite nice. But next time we go on a "stroll down the mountain," don't be surprised if you see my bringing trekking poles, climbing ropes, and abseiling gear... or maybe just an ticket for the gondola back down would be easier.