07 August, 2013

Our Hokkaido Adventure Day 12

Thursday 4th July, Wakkanai

It rained. 

It began in the middle of the night and continued into the morning. I grew up loving rain (in drought-prone Australia and being born to parents who grew up on farms), and I especially love the sound of rain on a tin roof. Rain on a canvas roof, however, is a totally different thing. Even gentle rain is amazingly loud and not conducive to a good night's sleep. But still, our tent didn't leak and we weren't wet, nor were we cold. It made breakfast a little more cramped, but with our large awning we managed just fine.

Can you spot our tent? The gazebo-type things in the
middle are "camp kitchens" with sinks and water. Just
on the right of the photo is the toilet-block and on the
left is the shower-block/park golf club house. The
foreground is a tiny part of the park golf course.

We’re the only ones using the facilities because of the rain and because Japanese school holidays were yet to begin. The solitude was great. 

Riding my bike.
One of the reasons we embarked on this holiday was to get away from the crowdedness of Tokyo, and even the "crowdedness" of living close to the school where lots of missionaries have their kids. We definitely got away from it all up there! Even more than we were in outback Australia last year. There were always a good number of other travelers at all of our stops last year, because we were travelling in the best time of year for outback tours, many of them were the so called “grey nomads”. But on this holiday, the campsites weren't crowded (except in Sapporo on the weekends).

At 9.45, the rain stopped and the clouds broke up. David went to persuade the people at reception that we’d stay another night (they would only let us pay for one night when we arrived, convinced that we wouldn’t last, given the rain forecast). 

The park map. We were camping in the middle of a park, quite a large
park at that.
We’re a little concerned about Saturday’s forecast. It was due to rain again, and rain during our pull-down and set-up is the worst time. Once we’re set-up we can stay fairly dry, but pulling down a wet tent in the rain doesn’t sound like fun (we hadn’t had to do it yet, though in wet Japan, surely that day was coming).

Looking out to sea from the reception area. Those
mountains on the horizon are Russia.
Before lunch we hired mountain bikes from the reception and explored the park. It was quite big. We rode up a hill and found a pretty impressive view. Then we tried to go down to the playground we could see marked on the map. Unfortunately we ended up going down some very steep sets of steps in the hillside with our bikes (no, not on our bikes!). But we made it there. It was a bit of a broken-down playground, but the boys enjoyed it for a while (before we discovered the insects in the tree we posed for a photo in).

After lunch we played park golf. It was the beginning of a bit of an obsession, at least for our eldest and youngest boys. Park golf courses are everywhere in rural Hokkaido. Every town has at least one! It was pretty cool being camped right next to one, except when we heard the golfers very early in the morning teeing off.

The tree we posed in (and found some nasties in).
Park golf quickly settled into a pattern: our middle son had terrible trouble teeing off and quickly became discouraged, and despite all the amateur coaching he received it didn't seem to improved. My golf wasn't that great either, so I encouraged him by competing for last place.

With all the clouds gone, it turned into quite a hot day and we ended up with some sunburn, yes, even in Wakkanai. But it was a fun, relaxing family day, made even better by the knowledge that we didn't have to pack up and move the next day, we had one more day to enjoy this lovely campsite.

Park golf. Almost no shade on the course made it a hot
afternoon. But it was an enjoyable family activity.
The boys later rated it as their favourite campsite. David and I preferred another one that you'll hear about later. Partly because we were able to get some natural shade from trees there. The Wakkanai campsite was fairly bug-free (though we did have an infestation of ants into our food), the facilities were great and park golf excellent.

I have lots of photos from that day. Keep scrolling!
Next to the park are hundreds of solar panels. Not sure who they
belong to, perhaps the city.
Part of the view from the lookout on the hill.
How's this for strange? This plant had these red growths
coming out of the middle of the leaves! No idea what
plant it is.
The small, partly broken playground (taken from the top
of a rope pyramid climbing frame by our 14 y.o.)
"Bicycling" in a circle.
Just look at this shower! It was free too.
Unlimited time in there. Wow, so beautiful!
Another "nice shower" shot.
Can you believe this is camping?

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