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Japan Diary 10

    We only had a little time left in Japan and were getting skunked. We debated dropping into the other tributary above the previous Onsen confluence, but the larger tributary was high and twice as steep as the other tributary we ran in Diary 8.
Playing it smart was the right thing to do this time, knowing we'd return some day to complete the section. Now we head more driving ahead of us, and wanted to find something in route to Tokyo. There is an epic river on the way that runs under snow caves in a deep canyon. Cody had done it previously. It was considerably earlier in the year and we didn't know the status of the snow caves. In light of that we did the tourist thing in the canyon and walked an old tunnel that had views of the canyon, science, history and even an art exhibit in it.

The art was well displayed in a very dark setting. Fitting for the art eh?

VR really works - Nikon D700, Nikkor 70-300VR @ 140mm 1/15 f/4.8 ISO 3200

I'll leave you guessing about what this is, it just seemed very fitting for Japan and was not a flag.

The canyon lived up to the scenery hype.
Snow bridge in the canyon. Dubiously close to the water.

One of the best things about kayaking is that it's often the off season for other tourism. We nearly had the place to ourselves. Of course almost every business was closed too.

Ok where are we going next? Time for the waterfall book.

A little rain while we figure things out.

And more rain.

   Shot from inside a humid vehicle. Good thing we had Yoshi to guide us, it was rare that signs were in English at all. Utsukushi....uh yeah.

More rain as we go to "It's like a Japanese Dennys" - Yoshi

We camp out near a falls Cody had attempted previously. On their hike in a rock slide happened (most common accident in Japan) and a team member got part of a paddle shaft in their leg. Ouch. It would need rain. And rain it did, as we set up our tents in the dark. Glad to have them up without getting too wet (thanks Nemo!). In the morning we woke to find flows really high. Kind of run-able. Kind of.  We drove into town to get some breakfast and the clouds parted.

Each day the scenery continues to impress.

With breakfast under our belts we looked at the book again and started driving to a waterfall. Once we got there it was pretty obvious it didn't go, the whole thing had a shallow landing. The upstream gradient looked ok, and there was road access and it was getting late in the day, so we figured what the hell, may as well paddle something. The river, aka creek, aka drainage ditch, started off pretty fun with some nice boulder gardens, before it turned the corner and dropped over a significant triple drop that none were expected. The drop looked slightly marginal in itself, and a log in the middle made it unacceptable. Out came the ropes and after fifteen minutes we had the log out. Hmm I'm still not sure if I really want to run this thing.

 Shon Bollock opted to probe.
No really, the lighting was worse than it looks in the image.

Shon on tier three, larger than it looked.

Shon made it through upright, oh so barely. Not really a sell. But we had done all that work getting the log out...

Cody Howard gives it a go.

Huh looked about as good....but we did put all the work in and the trip is almost over. I'd already portaged my boat halfway down, but the seal launch was about same same as running it poorly, because it put you in the wrong spot unless someone was there to help launching. Time to run it. Same same, none of us flipped but in the nature of low volume mank, none of it was especially inspiring.

Yoshiriro Takahashi exits the triple drop with the third tier in the background.

Now in the above image it may appear the lighting was ok. It wasn't. Sometimes I wonder why I drag the heavy (2lb body only), expensive Nikon D700 down the river. And sometimes bad lighting reminds me. I don't know how it holds the shadow detail, but it does.

Original image.

Next up, a little sight seeing as the run had only taken us an hour and change. Mt Fiji.

A little camping before we embark on our last river in Japan.

Nikon D700, Samyang 14mm f/2.8 @  16'  f/5.6 ISO 200

Japan Diary 11

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