A Morning Walk In Early Spring
Although not much of an early riser myself, sometimes letting yourself be convinced to try something new can have all kinds of unexpected rewards.
A friend of mine managed to convince me to get up two hours earlier than usual to go for a 5:00 am walk around Kutchan Town. It took a lot more persuading than that, I was pretty resistant to giving up the extra time in bed. Little did we know that the lovely spring weather than we had been enjoying for the last few days was about to change overnight. While it was only a few centimetres deep, all of Kutchan Town was blanketed in snow overnight.
Our walk around town only lasted for about an hour. We walked up past Asahigaoka Ski Resort and then swung back down around the city centre. In the hour that we walked, we didn't cover all that much distance, but all it took was one hour-long walk at five-in-the-morning to change and already I am questioning the benefits of getting up earlier in the mornings.
While these may not have been the kind of 'fresh tracks' that powder hounds look for, there is something about walking through fresh snow that is really enjoyable. There is something undeniably satisfying about walking through a light layer of untouched snow. Maybe it's the crunch underfoot or perhaps it's knowing that you are about to shatter the perfect, flat surface of white snow; for whatever reason, it is just feels good!
With the warm weather that we have been having over the last week, most of the roads have cleared up and the asphalt is visible once again. If you are in the area, you have probably seen joggers and maybe even a cyclist or two. Yet with this morning's snowfall, it felt like winter was saying, 'I'm not finished yet!'. It is amazing to watch the seasons switching back and forth between each other.
The highlight of our morning walk was when we rounded a corner by one of Kutchan Town's elementary schools and found a patch of yellow flowers coated in last nights snow. It really stood out in my mind, so much so that I had to stop snap a few photos.
While I know that not every morning I get up early for a walk will be as photogenic as this morning was, I already feel like my mentality to early mornings has shifted considerably. Had I waited another hour or two, much of the snow would have melted or been torn up by those who came before me, and I might have missed out on the stillness that I experienced this morning. Whether it's spring, summer, autumn, or winter, an early morning walk in Niseko is not likely to be something you end up regretting! I will be looking forward to many more early morning walks in the months and years to come.