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Adventures of the Hokkaido Bush Pig
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Digging Your Own Snow Cave By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Arial} Making a snow cave is hard work, but it can also be a fun way to spend some time in the winter backcountry of Japan’s mountains. Oh, it can also save your lif...

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Lights, Camera, Onsen! By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

A while back, I received a call from some sailors on an American aircraft carrier docked in Otaru Port. They’d been on board a few months were itching to get off and away from everything. They first contacted me while out at sea, so I asked them...

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The Search Party By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

This is a tale from a few years ago while guiding a group into one of the mountain ranges here in Hokkaido. We were on our third day of an eight-day trek when we noticed a small plane circling around the area. What are they doing?” asked a guy ...

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Breaking All The Rules With Mr. Bear By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

If you’ve ever read about what to do when camping in bear country, you’d know there are a few rules one should try to follow. Hanging your food out of reach of Mr. Bear and avoiding cooking or keeping food in your tent are two such rules. ...

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The Adventures of the Hokkaido Bush Pig By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

You never know who you are going to meet and where you are going to meet them. This month I thought I would tell you a story of an unusual run-in I had up here on the big island of Hokkaido. It’s about a good friend of mine and how we first m...

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A Spooky Feeling By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

Do you believe in ghosts or spirits in the woods? Maybe this story will change your mind…or maybe not. A couple of summers ago, I was doing a long day-hike up to Yubari-dake, a two-to-three-hour drive out of Sapporo. It was a beautiful, but hot...

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The Bush Pig Meets The Sonic Surfer By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

There I was, sitting in a local coffee shop in Sapporo, face to face with this slight, long-haired, hippie-like Japanese guy speaking perfect English. I didn’t know then that in three weeks we would spend 10 great days together in Hokkaido trekk...

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Doing It Solo By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

December is upon us, so the snow up here in Hokkaido will be here to stay for a while. After a busy summer and fall of taking people from all over the globe into mountains, the Pig’s ready for some R&R. This means doing something I’m r...

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The Pig and Mr. Takemoto By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

When I first moved to Sapporo, I started hiking in the hills around the city. During one such hike, I passed a large hut that looked unoccupied. A few years later in winter, I noticed smoke coming out of the chimney for the first time and went over...

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The Pig Goes Mobile By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

One advantage of writing for a good magazine is that sometimes you get invited to try some fun things. I recently got such an invitation for myself and my family from the guys at Sapporo Snowmobile Land. I’m always looking for new activities for...

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Poles: Love ’Em or Hate ’Em By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

The last few years I’ve noticed more people using walking poles (“stocks” in Japanese). If you are thinking about buying a pair, you might consider walking poles are not an instant fit; it takes time to get used to them. I’ve ...

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Close Encounters of the Furry Kind By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

About this time last year I did a trip to one of Hokkaido’s great peaks – Mt. Ashibetsu. This hike has one of my favorite huts—beautiful stone, simple and rustic, which is what I love about huts in Hokkaido. Inside there’s a di...

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The Pigs Christmas Wish List By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

The season of merry and cheer is nearly here, and it is time to make my wish list for the man in the red suit and the long white beard. Nothing puts a smile on The Bush Pig’s face on Christmas Day faster than some brand new outdoor gear. For ...

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Breaking the Ice By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

If you plan to hit the trails, but your Japanese won’t even get you a beer in a local bar, don’t worry; here are a couple of tips from The Pig that might get you a drink in the middle of nowhere. Pig Tip #1:   If you’ve ...

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Tips for Spring Hiking in Hokkaido By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

For most people, March and April is spring. Spring in Japan means welcoming cherry blossoms and warm weather, and it is time to start looking for your shorts. For us in Hokkaido, however, that doesn’t happen until mid-May. March in Hokkaido...

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The Adventures of the Hokkaido Bush Pig By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

There I was, heading up another Hokkaido trail, when two people we passed on their way down said, “They are waiting for you at the hut.” I looked at my hiking partner who looked back at me with the same surprised look. I said. “OK...

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The Bush Pig Goes Rambo By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

In this issue, I am talkin’ knives and, more to the point, if it is better to have a big knife or a small knife on a long trek. I think the main issue here is “horses for courses” but, for me on a long trek, especially in bear cou...

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The ‘Blessed’ Sound of Bells By The Hokkaido Bush Pig

One of my first ever hikes in Hokkaido was a memorable one. Not only was it my first outing with my father-in-law, but I also came across something I hadn’t seen in all my years hiking and trekking in New Zealand. As I was working my way up t...