Next we headed further up to Midori-numa (緑沼), another gorgeous koyo spot. As it was one of the few spots with wooden benches and where eating was permitted, it was full of hikers at nearly noon time.
Did not rest and continue uphill to Ezo-numa (エゾ沼). Koyo was less impressive than in our 1st visit in 2004.
Next was Shikibu-numa (式部沼) which was probably the most gorgeous pond of the day.
Arrived at Daigaku-numa (大学沼) whose resting area was entirely covered in snow and puddles. Took a brief rest and quickly consumed an onigiri where eating was also permitted.
Spoke to park patrols on-duty and attempted further uphill to Kogen-numa but had to give up. That trail had become very slippery due to snow and mud all submerged beneath mountain streams. By then it was past 1pm, chilly at probably 5-6C and many hikers had returned. It was at the same location that wife and I had reached in 2004.
Upon descent took some quick snaps on some swamps such as Kamo-numa, Basho-numa etc.
Finally returned to the trailhead at almost 3:30pm. Took the last shuttle bus (seated) back to the temporary parking lot. Drove back to the onsen hotel at around 5pm – exhausted though grateful.
** Lessons learned
Apart from proper mountain hiking gears including waterproof hiking shoes and trekking poles, renting waterproof plastic boots up to shin (on spot) might be a better solution to trails strewn with muddy puddles, mountain streams and possibly snow.