TOO MUCH SNOW!

Lonely Planet Magazine (US) - - Easy Trips -

As part of our Ja­pan fea­ture, we hoped to see the fa­mous “snow mon­keys” of Jigoku­dani. We ar­rived at the vis­i­tor cen­ter full of an­tic­i­pa­tion, only to find out it wasn’t go­ing to be pos­si­ble to walk the 30-minute trail up to the hot springs where this troop of macaques bathes. Iron­i­cally, there was too much snow to see the snow mon­keys. The park is ac­cus­tomed to deal­ing with big pre­cip­i­ta­tion dumps, but the night be­fore we ar­rived there was a once-in-a-decade down­pour. More than 3 feet of snow fell in less than 12 hours. Even with a dozen men with snow­plows on hand, the path was not go­ing to be cleared that day. It was also unlikely the mon­keys would have made it to the springs in such con­di­tions. At nearly twice the pri­mates’ height, the 3-foot-deep snow banks would have been a chal­lenge to tra­verse. We turned to leave more than a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed. But just be­fore we got in the car, we spot­ted this lone macaque (at right). He’d some­how braved it and made it to branches of trees be­side the vis­i­tor cen­ter. So we got a sight­ing, of sorts, in the end. – Gabrielle Jaffe

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