Today a different post…
This afternoon, after getting my little sister to school, I’ve lost myself in one of the top far-off places near my home, El Collet de les Barraques. It’s a mountain pass surrounded by high mountains and breathtaking alpine grasslands.
It takes me only 15km from my home through the narrow road you can see above that ascends until 1900m (6400ft). There you are surrounded by a dense Black Pine (Pinus uncinata) woodland characteristic of the subalpine level of vegetation, in fact it equals to the Taiga vegetation of Scandinavia, Russia, N of USA and rough regions of Canada.
Although leaving only one month to summer, last weekend and Monday kept snowing: at hills and high valleys accumulate over 1.5 m of snow. I’ve taken a walk without skis nor boots nor snowshoeing, just walking, only wetting my slippers and trousers…
When you reach 2000m the woodlands give way to alpine grasslands, covered by snow and ice from october-november to may-june.
Puigmal peak hidden behind the clouds. ‘He’ reaches 3000m.
I love this shy spring with huge contrasts between 2 worlds: the valleys and forests green and plenty of life, whilst hills and mountains still keep lethargic. Also I like the contrast between the warm of the sunshine, which heats a lot, and the chilly of ice and snow: you can take a walk in a t-shirt without freezing yourself.
Sometimes I’ve felt envy of your posts on your blogs about your trips throughout the planet, but I realise that often is not necessary to go so faraway to get what are you looking for, in my case a far-off place to get a wee bit of peace…
I’m not a proficient in Japan and Japanese culture but a few weeks ago, thanks to a spectacular video about mountain skiing produced by the well-known Canadian Arc’teryx company, I’ve discovered the northernmost Japanese prefecture, the isle of Hokkaidō.
Hokkaidō on the map
As I’ve said previously I’m not a freaky of Japanese culture, and sincerely I’ve never paid attention to these wee bit of land. However, I’ve the impression that, like the entire Japan, Hokkaidō is plenty of contrast between big cities and mountains, between the deafening noise of the biggest cities and the rest and silence of the Buddhist temples, between the all-colours lights in the centre of Sapporo and the darkness of the dense woodlands…
Sapporo, the main city of the Isle (www.mikeblender.com)
Buddhist temple in Sapporo (www.japan-guide.com)
Frozen lakes and mountains in Hokkaidō (www.wildencounters.com)
One of the most interesting points about Hokkaidō is their huge snowfalls. In fact is one of the places in the world where more snow: the snow can raise 10m high in some parts of the island!
Due to the greatness and magnificence of Hokkaidō, I’ll spend 2 or 3 posts more to explore this amazing piece of land.
‘Papaver rhoeas’ plantation in Hokkaidō (www.chinadaily.com.cn)
Roads in winter (www.globeimages.net)
Huge snow wall (www.reddit.com)
A snow car (www.lamyjapan.com)
Hokkaidō in autumn (www.globeimages.net)
It’s all for the moment. I let you the video responsible of my craziness with Hokkaidō. I think is the most inspiring video I’ve never seen. (The best part of the video starts at minute 5:30 and play it with fullscreen). Enjoy it!