Apr 1, 2015
Lake Nukabira’s surrounding terrain and sights provide for activities you can do here all year round. Contributing writer Deborah Tan shares her experience trekking through the wintry forest and on the frozen lake.
I have to admit: in the cold, I’ve always likened myself to a bear – I’d rather stay put in a warm place and sleep. So, when I heard that we were going snowshoe trekking AND ice fishing, I was all ready to cover myself in heat packs from head to toe.
The drive to Higashitaisetsu Nature Guide Centre in a warm car had ill-prepared me for the drop in temperatures. When I got outside, the first thought that came into my head was, “OMG!” At the centre, we were given a short briefing on what we need to take note of while walking on the frozen lake and how to put on the snowshoes. Would I survive this?
It was my first-time ever trying snowshoe trekking and I was surprised by the amount of coordination and concentration needed to move efficiently in the snow. You have to pay attention and follow the steps of the person in front of you. This is especially important on the lake as there is always the risk of you stepping on thin ice. Breathing in the cold air and taking in the frozen landscape made this experience thoroughly memorable. I could feel the muscles in my legs burn! I’m convinced I’d be gifted with supermodel gams after this bout of activity. Burn, baby, burn!
The highlight of the trek is the disused Taushubetsu Bridge located on the lake. After about a kilometer on land, we finally stepped onto the frozen lake! For a first-timer, the thrill was truly exhilarating. The trek to the bridge was roughly 2 km and throughout the journey, you can spot beautiful landmarks formed in the snow. These make for great photo opportunities, but for your safety, be sure you stay put and take the picture rather than walk and look through the screen.
The sight of what once was an elevated railway bridge over a frozen lake is breathtaking. We spent about 15 minutes wandering around it, taking pictures and, simply admiring its beauty. We even spotted a fox spying on us from afar!
The next part of the experience was ice fishing for wakasagi (lake smelt). If I thought snowshoe trekking was tiring, nothing prepared me for the physical exertion required for this! No fishing could be done until you first put a hole in the lake. Drilling a hole using a manual drill certainly gave my chest and arm muscles a good workout!
But winter isn’t the only time you can enjoy Lake Nukabira. In summer and fall, the lake is the perfect location for canoeing while the primeval forest makes for a wonderful hiking spot.
For those who want to do something active while on a holiday, I promise you it will be an experience worth your time.