Written by Angeles (Class of 2018, Venezuela)
This term has been an exciting and snowy one for the Outdoor Education department, with beautiful scenery and a lot of preparation for future trips. Spring is approaching, and we are excited for what this will bring. In the meantime, here is what has been going on with Outdoor Ed!
March 10th and 11th Togakushi Overnight Hike
One of the most amazing places in Japan, well-known to be an ‘energy’ spot where people of all ages go to experience the stunning landscapes and visiting shrines, Togakushi is a small village in central Nagano. Our students had a chance to split into groups depending on which areas they wanted to explore. One of the groups went on a snowshoe hike around the village, visited shrines, and spent time exploring the tree avenue; a trail that is surrounded by giant cedar trees.
“Camping in the snow, in temperatures that were below freezing was a mentally and physically intense experience. I only camped once before, and it was during summer, so I did not really know what to expect; however, I did get training last year and also the weeks before the hike and that helped me feel way more confident and excited about going on this trip. The hike itself was beautiful, scenery was magical and I truly believe it made me bond with people I had barely interacted with before. It was a very positive experience for me and I hope I can go on a similar trip sometime soon!”
– Hajar (Class of 2018, Oman)
The other group went up Mount Iizuna, which is 1,917m high. It was a steep ascent up the mountain, and some students got the chance to interact with other hikers from all around Japan that were also very excited to be exploring the area. Interestingly, the weather was cloudy most of the time, but once our students got high enough, they were able to get a panoramic view of the area, and take a look at the clouds below.
Van Anh (Class of 2018, Vietnam) shared that as this was her second time camping, she felt much more prepared and confident. She knew all the things that she needed to do and bring, and since the weather was so much better than her initial trip, she enjoyed herself much more! “I got to spend time with interesting people, and I also got to know a bit more about myself; for example, I realized that my attitude was not necessarily positive when things did not go as planned during the hike, but I was happy to be there with others and experience the supportive spirit! I was also very happy to have hot curry udon for breakfast the day after!”
Getting ready for the expedition!
Our Stream 2 and 3 students have been working on getting everything sorted for the expedition that will take place during the spring break. Routes are quite varied depending on the groups; while some are going on long hikes up the highest points of the Izu peninsula, others are alternating in between ridge-lines and walking along the coast. To get ready, students have to plan their own routes, come up with daily timetables, write risk assessments and receive navigation training in order to have the best experience while on the expedition. Both supervising faculty and students are excited to share all the stories about the trip once we get back!
“Interestingly, I am used to signing up for trips, hiking and having an awesome time! I do know that there is a procedure behind it, but it was not until I had to plan a trip myself that I realized the amount of effort that is required to organize an expedition. From getting the team invested to writing up paperwork, it is a lot of hard work! I am happy because now I feel like I will be able to plan things for myself more confidently, and know how to stay safe when I go on trips by myself. I am so excited and counting the days for the expedition to start!”
– Priya (Class of 2019, India)