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Scott
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xx Winter walking
« Thread started on: Aug 18th, 2016, 12:47am »

I am strongly considering making the walk in February - March and I am wondering if anyone that has walked during this time of year can offer any advice regarding any specific risks / or managing with the cold. My intention is to camp as often as required.

Thank you
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clarksm67
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xx Re: Winter walking
« Reply #1 on: Aug 24th, 2016, 5:43pm »

I started walking last march (mid) and slept in a tent or just in a rest hut most nights. The temp dipped close to 0 degrees in the Mountains. I had a good sleeping bag and thermal underwear (long johns).

Good luck
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Scott
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xx Re: Winter walking
« Reply #2 on: Aug 29th, 2016, 03:00am »

Thanks for the reply clarksm67! I have a good sleeping bag etc suitable for winter.

The only down side I can think of is the early mornings. But the cold generally just makes you move a bit faster when packing up etc...
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fexluz
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xx Re: Winter walking
« Reply #3 on: Sep 14th, 2016, 09:22am »

Hi Scott. I walked from January 15th thru March 11th, this year. I highly recommend a winter walk, temples are less crowded and you'll never have an issue finding a place to stay, although the sparser areas of the pilgrimage will still be crammed with knowledgeable walkers and interesting folks.

Happy to advise on any specifics, but I could not recommend a winter walk more strongly. I had about seven or eight rain days in (exactly) two months of walking. Folks this year spring/summer have been hit hard by rain, which is miserable any way you slice it...

Have no doubt, you will be cold at times, especially on the mountains. But I think the advantages are enormous and when I go again in a few years I plan to go in the Winter again. This time in reverse.

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Scott
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xx Re: Winter walking
« Reply #4 on: Sep 19th, 2016, 11:31pm »

Thanks fexluz.

My flights are booked for 7 Feb to 4 April. So 55ish days to complete the walk and I'm intending on going as slowly as possible. I'm looking forward to the challenge of dealing with the cold. I am hoping it snows in parts during the walk.

My only (albeit slight) concern is the long nights in a cold tent when camping. Without lighting a fire it's going to be a challenge to sit around in the cold / lay in the sleeping bag for long periods.

I have plenty of equipment to help manage it - Cold weather mattress and sleeping bag, warm clothes and don't have any problems carrying a bit of extra weight in clothes / gear to help manage it. At least my sweating will be reduced.

It'll be a shock to the system going from the Aussie summer to the Japan winter though!

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MollieGrant
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xx Re: Winter walking
« Reply #5 on: Jul 8th, 2017, 04:41am »

I like winter walking very much. I always go with my friends and we will share lot of things during the walk . I always enjoy those moments in life and I enjoy the beauty of nature very much.
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xx Re: Winter walking
« Reply #6 on: Jul 28th, 2017, 11:59pm »

smiley
First.Before you go out of the house .you should drink warm boiled water.
Second .Make sure you wearing enough clothes and keep warm.
Finally.you should walk normally.
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Erasmus
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xx Re: Winter walking
« Reply #7 on: Aug 30th, 2017, 01:58am »

I think I'm reviving this thread, but I'm planning on doing the walk starting mid-November. I didn't realize how expensive lodging would be so I'm now considering camping.

With the right equipment this is totally doable right? Or am I crazy to camp and walk mid-Winter season?
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tneva82
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xx Re: Winter walking
« Reply #8 on: Aug 30th, 2017, 05:51am »

on Aug 30th, 2017, 01:58am, Erasmus wrote:
I think I'm reviving this thread, but I'm planning on doing the walk starting mid-November. I didn't realize how expensive lodging would be so I'm now considering camping.

With the right equipment this is totally doable right? Or am I crazy to camp and walk mid-Winter season?


Well people are camping out over the world inside full snow so obviously it's DOABLE. You just need right gear for it and that's going to add to weight which makes harder to walk=you might need to slow down your pace but good thing with that obviously is that since you camp you won't be so dependant on lodgings so when you feel tired you can simply start finding place to rest.

Worse issue is that weather is going to vary a lot due to wide time and the fact you are going from low areas all the way to mountains where you might(especially toward end) end up with snow. For example Kochi in december seems to have min temp 3.6 degrees and average around 8. However that 3.6 is probably on low area. On 500m higher up it's colder. This march when I was there I had t-shirt weather but on 700 meters I was shivering in the t-shirt...

But definitely doable and I have read several accounts who praised winter period(especially january-february) citing cold weather being preferable to warm and everywhere not being that crowded(which might be negative if you want to talk with lots of people)

If you can read japanese this book was rather nice winter pilgrim walking:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Y80JZJK/ref=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o04_?ie=UTF8&psc=1
« Last Edit: Aug 30th, 2017, 05:59am by tneva82 » User IP Logged

Erasmus
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xx Re: Winter walking
« Reply #9 on: Aug 30th, 2017, 10:58pm »

Thanks for your quick reply and the confidence. I'm really excited!

I've never done this sort of hiking before, but I think my main concern is being properly equipped like you said. I suppose if I can't find the right equipment at the right prices (fine balance) then I should play it safe and put it off.

Unfortunately I can't read kanji. I'll continue doing research and post more questions when they come up.
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tneva82
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xx Re: Winter walking
« Reply #10 on: Aug 31st, 2017, 02:02am »

on Aug 30th, 2017, 10:58pm, Erasmus wrote:
Thanks for your quick reply and the confidence. I'm really excited!

I've never done this sort of hiking before, but I think my main concern is being properly equipped like you said. I suppose if I can't find the right equipment at the right prices (fine balance) then I should play it safe and put it off.

Unfortunately I can't read kanji. I'll continue doing research and post more questions when they come up.


Well hiking equipment stores can probably help you with the equipment at least in terms of what. Assuming you plan things so you don't have to camp at the mountains(don't start Shosanji for example after noon!) you should be aiming for ~3 degrees at day temperature. Less on nights obviously. Camping experts probably can figure out what is going to be good. For day keep in mind you might hit into snow at the mountains so prepare appropriately. Gloves, hat etc. Of course that's same whether you camp or use lodging!

Price might be issue but good thing is you can reuse them later smiley
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henrodon
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xx Re: Winter walking
« Reply #11 on: Sep 28th, 2017, 04:48am »

I walked twice. The first time, I started January 3rd, the second time, I started in mid-March, so I had the coldest part of the winter and, as it turned out, some unseasonable sweltering last days' walking at the beginning of May. On the other hand, I didn't camp, so take my comments for what they may be worth to you.
1) I think winter is a GREAT time for walking the pilgrimage. It's just not that cold here. (I now live in Tokushima.) At sea level, near the coast, sub-freezing nights are pretty rare and the days are always above freezing. It's also (along with Fall), the least rainy part of the year. As a result, there isn't much snow to slow you down, even on the mountain trails.
2) There is SOME snow, which melts and refreezes, to make some of the trails slick and potentially a little dangerous, especially in the morning, especially under the trees or in the mountains. I certainly wouldn't try walking in running shoes in winter.
3) Camping on the pilgrimage is almost never in a place where you can build a fire, either to cook or to get warm. You'll depend on food, keeping active, and hot drinks. You can get hot drinks in most vending machines, but that can run into a bit of money if you need a hot drink to warm up every two hours. Are you planning on bringing a cookstove? If you are, make sure you'll be able to get fuel here.
4) There are far, far fewer pilgrims in winter, but many lodgings (including some of the temple lodgings) are closed.
5) You can buy extra clothes almost any day along the route. You can also send off warm things you no longer need as the weather warms up.
6) I don't remember if you said you had much winter camping experience. My main advice is to have thick DRY socks to wear at night. Don't wear the socks you wore during the day. They won't keep your feet as warm at night.
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