It seemed an eternity ago that I had turned back from Hakusan 4 months to the day on that utterly exhausted wet morning in May.

But today was Kin’s birthday – she was at evening class and the weather forecast was good but deteriorating, so I hurriedly emailed a vacation notice to all customers and (guiltily) set off for the 5-hour drive through the mountain passes of Nagano and Gifu. Desperate for some sound to keep me awake, I pulled out a CD in the dark while driving and popped it in. My niece’s CD. The Sugababes. Nuff said.   

The mission was, in the words of not Mallory: “Because it’s there”, but Sir Edmund Hillary: “To knock the bastard off”. Another night hike, and the deed was done.

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