30. Jun 2012
Late at night I arrived at the hiking starting point. The moon and stars shined above the mountains and I listened to the river while I fell asleep. Next morning, I woke up at 4:20 – still tired – but as I saw the mountains I quickly jumped into my trousers, grabbed the rucksack and started the hike.
First the way followed a small forest road, after reaching the mountain range it lead directly up. Several stairs supported the hike, but still it’s a steep way up and above 2.400 meters some rocks have to be climbed. Also, some steep passages to be passed and there is no rope or chain. It looks like it disappeared after a landslide and was not replaced yet. It is possible to take this route but please be careful and watch your step.
The mountains looked really beautiful with snow and fresh green leaves. I bought 2 liters water at the mountain hut because I was so thirsty this day. Might be, I hiked to fast. It was a fine day in the mid of the rain-season and the view was so great! On the west side the Japanese Sea, on the east side Center alps, Minami-alps and Fuji-san. I guess more than 200 km view!
I took a rest on the top and had breakfast (onigiri and some dry seaweed), then walked back.
After hiking back most of the way and walking through the river valley I suddenly heard a strange sound “Quaahhh!…..Quahhhh! ….Quahhh!”.
First, I thought a crow or another bird, but the sound was somehow different.
“Quaaahhhhhh!…. Quahhhh!… QUAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!…”
Then I saw a small bear hanging on a tree and crying. He didn’t move for or backward and surprisingly he was wet all over!
And there was another bear cub in the next tree! Only about 30 meters from me. What are you guys doing up there? I was thinking…. And where is your mother???
I worried that she might show up behind me…
But then I saw her below the first bear’s tree. She climbed up to him, so quickly! She grapped the cub and brought it down to the bushes. It was difficult to take a good picture – to fast moving. Of cause I have stopped moving and stayed there quite – couldn’t continue here because they were on my way. Slowly I tried to move back, carefully. Then the mother and one cub got out of my sight.
But the other cub was still hanging in his tree and crying.
Where are they?
Then I saw them on the other side of the river. She tried to motivate the other cub in the tree to follow them, but apparently he didn’t want. He preferred to climb another tree and then the next – after the other and run around in the bushes. Suddenly he ran in my direction and stepped out of the bushes just 5 meters in front of me. For a moment we both stood like frozen, looking at each other.
Then I told him “ go get away of here and do what your mother told you and wants you to do! Pass that river and meet them on the other side!”.
It was obvious that he was surprised to see me. He ran towards the river but when he got close, he turned around and climbed another tree…
There he was hanging in the branches and started crying again. He already was wet – maybe he really did not like the river or fell in before…
I wanted to get out of this situation as the mother already focused on me. But she staid on the other side of the river. Carefully and moving slowly I passed the tree with the crying bear – tying to avoid to move in his or the mothers direction so she could see I pass sideward. I also didn’t turn my back to them, it was a careful sidwars move. Same as other bear would have acted and passed the area respecting each other’s distance and circumstances. There was no aggression or sudden move from both of us, we just met, looked at each other for a while and then continued our war.
I was so happy to be able to watch these three Japanese bears!
It was always my whish to see bear in wildlife one day and now it happened, and so close, peaceful and exciting! Still today, many years later, I remember this moment as it was yesterday.
鹿島槍ヶ岳 Kashimayarigatake 30. Jun 2012
Start: 大谷原 駐車場Ootanihara parking, end of road 325, 4:50 am, 1.100 m
Trail: 赤岩尾根コースAkaiwaone-trail (top), 7:40 am, 2.450 m
Trail: 冷池山荘Zubetaikesansou (hut), 8:00 am, 2.410 m
Top: 鹿島槍ヶ岳Kashimayarigatake, 9:30 am, 2.889 m
Trail down: 赤岩尾根コースAkaiwaone-trail
Finish: 大谷原 駐車場Ootanihara parking, end of road 325, 2:00 pm, 1.100 m
Duration: 7h 10 min Distance: 18 Km Height: 1.900 m