We left the base at 8 a.m. for the 2-hour drive in to the mountains to the Mominoki national park. There are several ski resorts there, but then there is (relatively) small sledding hill that's free to go to. We arrived a little before 10 a.m., and the place was deserted - we had the whole run to ourselves for the first half hour. While the men "prepared the sleds," i.e., added Turtle Wax to the bottoms, the kids ran off to explore the Japanese kids' creations.
|The only photo of me since I was the picture taker. ;) Each of my family members had at least two layers of pants and three layers of shirts on. We stayed pretty warm.|
|The deserted parking lot.|
|Will in an igloo|
|Miho dressed and ready to sled.|
|Mikaylyn in an igloo.|
|A field of snow creations that had been created the day before|
|Japanese snow castle.|
|Capt. Taylor was the first adult... and managed to go about 20 feet the first time before wiping out. Subsequent runs were much more successful.|
|The view to the right at the top of the run (Miho is is hiking back off after a run - she was the best sledder out of all of us, including the kids.)|
|View straight ahead, with Xan watching his dad and Top (for left dots) who just raced down the hill. Top won.|
|The view to the left - the old ski lift.|
|Miho and Mikaylyn|
|The view from the bottom of the hill, back up to where we started our sled runs. Yes, that is a huge tree in the middle of the run. We swear it had a gravitational pull to it.|
By the time we had finished sledding, the parking lot was filling up... with other military families who had the same idea we did. Only they brought kerosene camping stoves, electric air pumps and more camping equipment than I've ever seen in a parking lot that wasn't meant for tailgating. And I thought I had over packed!
After lunch we headed home... here are some photos of the mountainous countryside (we drove through both a logging town and a rock quarry village).
|The rest stop/convenience store we stopped to potty at both up the hill and down it.The toilets were freezing... and there weren't any heated toilet seats. My butt is starting to get spoiled over here.|
And the boys fell asleep within 15 minutes. It was a quiet ride home.
One last shot: This bridge was quite decorated. Most Japanese tunnels have something written above the entrance. Not sure if it's the name of the tunnel or what, but I thought it was interesting.