如果可以的话，请拥抱一座山吧 Go hug a mountain, if you can
It's Mountain Day in Japan
It makes a mountain of sense for Japan to celebrate Mountain Day, which occurs each August 11. Created in 2014, it's one of Japan's newest holidays. Nearly three quarters of the country is made up of mountains, thanks to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire volcanic zone. Japan's four major islands—Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku—all have ranges running through them.
The 9,065-foot Mt. Tsubakuro, which we feature in our home page image today, is a popular hiking destination, with well-maintained trails, rest areas, and lodges. Beautiful scenery abounds here on the island of Honshu, less than three hours' driving distance from Tokyo.
According to the legislation that established Mountain Day, the observance was launched to provide 'opportunities to get familiar with mountains and appreciate blessings from mountains.' One of those is snow-capped Mount Fuji, Japan's tallest mountain (12,389 feet) and one of the most pictured peaks in the world. Japan's rugged terrain is a boon for its tourist industry, providing opportunities for skiing, climbing, and resorts featuring the country's many hot springs.
Halo around the sun
What do you call a rainbow formed by ice? An icebow, of course. Others call the phenomenon a halo, and we'll admit it does have a mystical aura. It happens in locales where the bitter cold persists despite the shining sun, like here in the Ore Mountains of Germany. When the conditions are just right, tiny ice crystals in the air will refract light into a colorful halo around the bright sun. It's a perfect complement to the snow angels you're yearning to make in this pristine blanket of white.
Spring comes to the Diablo foothills
Spring rains carpet the rolling foothills of Northern California's Diablo Range in emerald green this time of year. Just past the sprawling suburbs of the East Bay region, the Diablo foothills become a sylvan playground for horseback riding, hiking, bicycling, and simply escaping into nature. Grasslands and oak savannahs cover the low ridges that gradually rise into the higher peaks of the range, and at the crests of the foothills, a visitor is granted panoramic views of the ridgeline to the east. Aside from the green grasses, springtime brings a profusion of wildflowers to the area, including poppies, daffodils, and lupine. It's also nesting season for the many birds of the region, like the peregrine falcons that build nests high in the vertical rock formations here known as Castle Rock.
A glittering diamond in the rough
Peering from this vantage point you may wonder, how in the world could anyone access this hut nestled in the Bavarian Alps? By hiking in, of course. There are well over 1,000 such huts dotting the Alpine landscape throughout Europe, most of them built and maintained by private social clubs devoted to climbing, hiking, and other activities in the mountains. These huts allow hikers to light out onto the extensive trail systems, sometimes for days, while carrying as little gear as possible. No need to pack cooking equipment, tents and sleeping bags when you have guaranteed shelter each night, with dinners, breakfasts, and, if you're lucky, a hot shower, included.
Do pack earplugs and a sleeping bag liner, as most of the beds are lined up next to each other in a dormitory setting. And don't try booking for this time of year. The hiking season in the Bavarian Alps typically begins in mid-May and lasts through the end of October. Weather, and COVID, permitting of course.