The ash-white rocks of Yakushi should have rung alarm bells, but I was too entranced by the shifting colours of the evening light. It had been a long day, and the effects of running down Hakusan in the early hours of the morning had been clear while climbing up Yakushi this afternoon.

While registering at the hut, I had hidden the dog around the back, then carried her discreetly past the throngs of hut-stayers who were drinking beer on the benches outside in the dying rays of the sun. We walked the few hundred meters to the campsite, which is perfectly equipped with flush toilets and running water, and fell into a deep sleep at 6 pm.

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