Camping on the Kanzaki River

Last weekend we got away from the city and work and headed up to the Kanzaki River in the mountains of Shiga Prefecture for some “shower climbing”. Shower climbing is what the Japanese call canyoning or river hiking. The Kanzaki River starts in the mountains between Lake Biwa and Nagoya Bay. We set up camp on a quiet part of the river and spent two days relaxing and enjoy nature.

August weather in Japan is oppressively hot and humid, so it was such a relief to swim in the cool, clear waters of the river. The water was not as high as in previous times we’ve gone up there, but we enjoyed it just the same. The kids are so much more confident in the water now than they were two years ago. Our two hikes consisted of scrambling over rocks and stopping at water holes to jump from the cliffs and swim. As you can see below, I am not quite as brave as the boys regarding jumping heights.

I really enjoyed the camping. Nadia had an air mattress for us in the tent and it was a perfect sleeping temperature. We ate well, with Naoki on the super deluxe Coleman camping stove! Between the views of the white rocks, green trees and blue skies and the refreshing water, it really recharged my spirit. It also reminded me of the importance of wilderness and I plan to take the family out more often this year.


Ollie, Ocean and Sam hop between rocks

It was also nice to pleasant to connect with friends sitting around the campfire.


Sava River (Reka Sava)


Our children are pictured above on the jogging trail that goes along the banks of the Sava River. After buying a table cloth at Home Center, we took a stroll along the river. The river is just down the hill from our home in Senjak (Belgrade). I discovered the trail on a run I went with Ocean yesterday morning. It goes north towards the city center for at least 7 kilometers and south for another 5 from our entry point. The trail is paved and perfect for biking or jogging. I am sure we’ll be cruising it a few times as it will become one of my running loops around the city.

The Sava is over 600 miles long and runs through four countries of the former Yugoslavia. It connects three capital city. The Sava originates in Slovenia and ends here in Belgrade, when it connects with the Danube. It is the second biggest tributary of the Danube.

It is one of the few rivers that still has flood plains as it is not regulated. It flooded the lower parts of Belgrade in 1981 and 2006. The name Sava is not Slavic – it has Celtic and Roman origins.

I see many people fishing on the river and lots of bikes and runners in the late afternoon. There are plenty of boats, many of the old and rusty boats that look like they are permanently anchored near the banks. There is also some algae buildup and plenty of refuse, so I question the water quality. It would be a lot better if it was better taken care of, but I am do not know the strength of environmental agencies and groups here in Serbia. It is still nice and our neighbor Radko swims in it all the time. He says there is a clean spot between the bridge supports pictured behind. I enjoy the fresh water air coming off of the river and the large number of birds along the shoreline. The bike trail is great too! The Serbian word for river is reka.


Refuse and Algae on the River Sava
Refuse and Algae on the River Sava



It was my last day of summer holidays as I report to work tomorrow (August 1). In the morning I took the kids with their bikes to the park. In the afternoon we organized the shelves in our house and the computer and camera equipment. I went to the airport with Eric, Goran, Jasmina, and Dominik to pick up the new elementary principal, Tim, but his flight was delayed with Lufthansa. After I came back, we went to the river. We wrapped up the night with watching Spiderman with the boys under our gazebo outside and Nadia and I had a nice glass of Macedonian white wine.