Building Trails, Culture, and Community: ‘Soil Searching: Mountain Guardian’


Ryo Hazuma is a man who can—and will—move mountains. Living in the Minami Alps of Japan, he dedicates himself completely to developing and maintaining trails at this UNESCO World Heritage Site, all while consciously bridging the generational divide.

It is a place where the change in seasons is as elegant as the inaudible ticking of time itself. Flawless. Japan: The Land of the Rising Sun. We arrive there just as summer makes its gentle turn to pass the torch of change, bringing hues and saturation beyond the most vivid of imaginations.

It’s raining when we meet him. He’s wearing a bright, florescent hi-vis vest, decorated with various badges, some of which include a hunter’s badge, a trail steward badge, and a firefighter badge. At 1.65 m (5’4”) tall and no more than 60 kg…

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