It was nice to be travelling as a family, for the dog certainly counts as a member. Nine nights in Hokkaido, nine peaks to knock off. But we almost failed at the first gate, when Nippon rentacar refused to lend us the car we had booked because we had brought a dog. Even with our dog crate, they would only rent us an old donkey of a vehicle.
The weather was equally uncooperative. With rain forecast for the next morning, I set off up Yoteizan immediately after finishing the evening meal at the pension, to the owner’s disbelief. Climbing into the cloud and gathering wind in the darkness, leaving the lights of Niseko far below, I felt very alone and vulnerable. As always at such times of weakness, I felt a strong love and need for Kin, and a responsibility to return in one piece. 3.5 hours later, I was back with her, just as the pension owner was setting off for his evening jog.