Coming out of the flight archery range, there’s a road leading further to the north. I find a small group of horses and grab one to make it a little quicker than going on foot.
I explore the rest of the road that lead up to here, and it doesn’t go too far — it ends at a little cabin. There’s a man sitting at a campfire outside the cabin, and I talk to him. He turns out to be a Yiga ninja in disguise, and challenges me to a fight. I suspected he might be Yiga, based on his appearance, and am ready for him. I equip my frost spear, spears being the best weapons to take against Yiga due to their range and speed, and it freezes him. I switch to my Dragonbone Moblin Club, and finish him off with one blow. Dragonbone Moblin Clubs do massive damage and are a great weapon, and I’ve picked up several up here, as the monsters keep dropping them. My horse runs off, and I can’t find it.
I proceed to explore the cabin, and it’s abandoned. There’s a diary, which I read, and the place had been inhabited by a professional shield surfer. Shield surfing is basically snowboarding, and I gather that at some point in the game I will likely need to use this skill, although I can’t see why it would be better than gliding. Shield surfing wears out your shields, and I hate doing things that wears out my stuff. But I guess it’ll be fun and cool when I get to the point where I need to do it.
Exiting the cabin, I find the horse, luckily it had just been right outside the cabin after running away when I fought the Yiga clan ninja. I get back on him and ride him all the way back down the mountain road to Rito Stables to register him, and I name him Radish. Get it?
Along the way, I stop frequently, and keep finding stuff to forage and korok seeds. There’s an area on the map called Warbler’s Den, where I run into a mystery I can’t solve: a central raised platform of rock surrounded by five stone rings, each ring having one, two, three, four, or five “fingers” coming from the top of it. I figure I’m supposed to fire an arrow through the rings in the proper order, so I do, but nothing happens. Then I try counting down from 5 to 1, and still nothing happens. I’m just wasting time and arrows.
No idea what to do here, I decide I’ll have to just come back to it later sometime, and I go further on down the road. I hear a Hinox snoring, and spot him to my right, just past the Warbler’s Nest area. I don’t want to engage it, and move on. I get to the stables, register Radish, and then transport back to the shrine in Rito village.
There’s a few missions for me here. The guards are telling me that one of their soldiers is supposed to be at the Flight Range, so I should go there again and see if he’s there now. I also talk to the wife of a Hylian couple who are here on their honeymoon. The wife wants baked apples, and the man wants flint, so he can bake some apples. They pay me well for both, and the man takes nearly all of my flint. I get a lot of rupees for them, but I don’t really need it. But it completes two minor sidequests easily.
A young Rito girl tells me a story about the mountain peak with the tall pine tree on it. Her grandfather went up there one day and saw a huge white bird with “something important” in its stomach. This story doesn’t make sense to me; how can you see what’s in a bird’s stomach? I decide I’ll go out that way and check it out.
I’ll glide out, but first I want to climb to the very top of Rito village. I do it, and it’s not easy, but I manage. I find a korok seed and something else at the very top, I forget but I think it’s a weapon. I look around and check out the surroundings. There’s a few more stone pillars like the one Rito village is built on, standing out of the water here and there. One of them has a small depression in it, and I see another likely korok hiding place. I glide down to it and yep, it’s a korok.
From here, the easiest glider approach to the road that will take me to Flight Range will land me right by the Hinox. I decide to try to sneak in and see if I can steal whatever he’s guarding, and maybe it’ll be something useful.
I get in close and manage to climb into his hand and he puts me on his chest. There’s a good sword and a good bow and a halberd that’s inferior to everything I’m carrying already. I take what I can, but nothing is really essential, as I’m already well equipped and fully outfitted. The next thing is I need to figure out how to get off the Hinox without waking it. I try gliding off, but this makes too much noise and wakes the Hinox.
There’s a thick stone column standing nearby, and I try to run behind it, hoping that the Hinox won’t see me and will go back to sleep, but it apparently knows where I am, and is trying to find me. We play a game of hide and seek for a few minutes, I keep going around the column, keeping it between the Hinox and me, and it keeps trying to move around to spot me. Eventually, I slip up and he sees me, and it’s on.
Alright, Hinox, you want to fight, I’ll fight. I quick-equip my Dragonbone Moblin Club, a good shield, my best armor, and my best bow. The Hinox is bending way over to get a good close look at me, and so I blast him right in the eye with an arrow, stunning him. I run up and unleash a flurry of charge attacks from the DMC, which does massive damage, taking the Hinox down about halfway. It gets back up and tries to sit on me, but I get out of the way, and then I nail it right in the eye with another arrow, stunning it, and I finish it off with a second flurry of charge attack.
This is the easiest fight I’ve had with a Hinox, and I’m developing a bit of skill. The better equipment and powering up that I’ve done helps too, no doubt.
I proceed up to the Flight Range, and there’s still no one there. Puzzled, I wonder here my contact is. I don’t have all day to wait for him, but maybe he’s only here at a certain time of day. Oh well, I guess he’ll have to wait.
I decide to head toward the big pine peak, and see if I can find that big white bird. This is a long trip, but I’m already about halfway there. It’s a lot of hiking and climbing, though, and along the way I find a few korok seeds, a couple of monster camps, mostly moblins and lizals but some bokoblins as well, all well armed, and pretty numerous. I fight them when I need to, and don’t really have a hard time taking them out.
I also encounter another Frost Talus, and fight it. This one is a bit easier to take down. I defrost it with a fire arrow, then run up onto its back and hit it in its soft spot with the DMC. It only takes two or three cycles of this to bring down. It freezes me a few times, but only hits me good one time, and I have to eat a meal to replenish my life bar after this fight.
I get to the peak with the big pine tree, and the tree has a red ribbon tied around it. This seems significant, but there’s nothing interactive about the ribbon, and it seems that it is merely decorative. I’m not sure what’s supposed to happen up here, so I wait a bit and look around, but nothing happens. I re-read the mission text and the girl’s story mentions her grandfather was looking to the northwest when he saw the huge bird, so I look to the northwest, and sure enough there’s a pretty large bird flying in circles a little below me.
I figure this must be the bird, so I pull out my telescope to have a good look at it and hope it’ll clue me in as to what I’m supposed to do here. The girl’s story said that the bird was white, but this bird is only white on its underside, and the top side is grey. It does seem to have a fairly big stomach, but I can’t see anything in its stomach, not that I expected to be able to.
I wonder if I’m supposed to shoot the bird with the bow, but I don’t want to do it. Besides, at the distance it’s at, I’m not likely to hit it anyway. I decide what I’ll do is save the game here, then try gliding up to it, and see if I can get close, and maybe I’ll be able to grab it out of the sky, or something. If that doesn’t work, I’ll restore and try something else.
I jump and glide down and I do get close, but I can’t grab it, and I just sort of fly through it. Now I’m below it, and it’s still up there. So I restore from my save point, and when the game resumes, the bird is gone. I wait and wait, hoping it’ll come back, but it doesn’t. Crud.
Needing something else to do now, I scope about with my telescope, and spot a plume of smoke rising in the distance not too far from me, about two peaks over. I glide toward it, and get about halfway, then hike and climb the rest of the way. It’s another cabin, and this one is inhabited, by none other than the shield surfing pro. She invites me to try shield surfing, but I’m not interested in that right now, and turn her down. I sit by her fire until dawn, and then check out a shrine that I saw not far from her cabin, a little downhill.
I get to the shrine, and solve it. It’s another wind test. This one involves a series of wind generators that spin turbines when they are pointed at them. I have to point them all in the right direction to make all the turbines spin to unlock the shrine master’s chamber. This just takes a little trial and error, and I’m in.
Walking back toward the cabin, I pick up another shrine signal, but I can’t pinpoint it. I try going to the very top of the mountain peak, but I still don’t see it anywhere. But while up there, I do spot a nearby tower that I haven’t yet activated, in the adjacent uncharted territory to the east.
I decide to try to glide down to it. This is a lot further than it looked, and I have to go through two stamina potions in order to make it without falling to my death. But once I do reach the tower, I arrive already about 2/3rd of the way up, and getting to the top is easy. I activate it and unlock the map for this region, which is called Hebra.
From Hebra tower, I can see at least two shrines nearby. The one that seems nearer also has what looks like a Stables nearby it, so I decide to go to that one first. Gliding to it actually takes me out of the Hebra map zone, and into the next zone, which is still uncharted. I’m only able to make it about halfway by glider, but this area is easy terrain, open grassland and gentle slopes, and I land a short distance from the stable, and run the rest of the way there. It’s called Serenne Stable, and it seems pretty serene. I talk to everyone and sit by the fire until dawn, then hike to the shrine, which is a bit further away than it looked on the map, but still pretty nearby.
This shrine is another wind generator and platform puzzle. This one involve using wind currents to blow a ball around a course and into a basin, which triggers an elevator platform to lift you up to where you can reach the shrine master’s chamber. It’s not particularly difficult, and I think I found an alternative solution that bypasses most of the challenge. There’s a magnetic box that you’re supposed to use in some manner; I just used it to block the basin there the ball is supposed to roll to activate the elevator. Then, rather than having the ball roll around the whole course, I put it right into the basin, about 99% of the way to where it’s supposed to go. Then I go stand on the elevator platform, and use magnesis to lift the box, allowing the ball to roll home.
Having cleared the shrine, I transport back to Hebra Tower, and glide down to the other shrine I could see from there. As I get closer, I can see that this one too has a stable near it. This one is called Snowfield Stables. The shrine puzzle here is much like the other one I just solved.
After clearing this shrine, I follow the road north out of Snowfield Stable. The road is mostly downhill, and runs to the northeast, and gradually curves to the right, making it more easterly. The terrain gradually changes from snowy to barren and rocky, and I eventually come to a vast chasm, when my shrine sensor starts going off.
I spend a few minutes looking for the shrine topside before I conclude that it is most likely down below in the chasm. At the bottom of the chasm I see what appears to be a vast stonework that might be another maze like the one I found in Gerudo desert. But when I get down there, I find that the walls for this one aren’t even taller than me, and it’s just a rough terrain of what’s left of stonework foundations that must have existed for thousands of years to be in the state they’re in now.
I can’t find the shrine. I walk back and forth over the area where the sensor indicates it is, for the better part of a day, and can’t find it. Finally, I give up and head south to see what else is down in this gorge. The stoneworks goes on a long way, and eventually I get to the end of it, and find that I’m at another drop-off. I glide down and discover that I’ve been walking on the roof of a vast building, and the entrance of which is now before me. It is an area called the Forgotten Temple.
I climb up the face of the entrance looking for a way in, and find it after a brief search, near the dead hulk of a Guardian. I begin to cautiously enter and look around, and in the dim light I see more Guardian hulks, and then the nearest one lights up, and I run back out toward safety, when I’m lit up by 3 or 4 more Guardian target lasers.
I try the approach again, more cautiously this time, hugging the wall and staying low, trying to keep obstacles between me and the line of sight of the Guardians I spotted, trying to get an idea of where they were. One is to my left just as you come in, another is straight ahead on a bridge, and I think there’s another two in there, one further back and to the left, the other closer and to the right. There’s no way I can fight all of them at once with them all targeting me.
The options seem to be: to sneak through; to make a mad dash for it; or to find an approach that allows me to divide and conquer, fighting one at a time, from a position where I have cover protecting me from the rest of them.
I try the sneak approach first, four or five times, but each time one of them picks me up and lights me up, and I have to run back out for safety. I’m quick and fortunate and make it each time, but it’s close each time, I dive for cover at the last second and just make it.
Each time I get a little bit better idea of how the place is laid out, and it helps me refine my approach for the next run. I observe that just past the entrance corridor, there’s a drop, and a large expanse, where there’s an updraft. I can glide across that, and get to a bridge where the middle Guardian hulk is. If I get that far, I’m not sure what I can do; maybe keep running, maybe find a good cover spot where I can lay low and plan the next stage.
I go for it, and four or five Guardians all start tracking me with their lasers. With the speed of the glider, their blasts all miss just behind me, and I land on the bridge with the central Guardian right next to me. I shoot it in the sensor with an arrow, disrupting it, and start pounding it with my weapon, doing significant damage. It only has 500 hit points, and I bring it down after blinding it with an arrow a second time. As it happened, my landing spot perfectly shielded me so that none of the other Guardians were capable of targeting me, and with the central one destroyed, I am safe for the moment. After the bridge, there’s a second expanse with another updraft, and another two, maybe three half-dead Guardian hulks between me and another wide hallway leading into a deeper chamber further back.
Considering how well that worked, I elect to go for the mad dash approach a second time, and manage to penetrate their defenses, gliding past their laser blasts, and land out of their range, and in the rear chamber I find the shrine. It’s actually in a spot almost directly below the point where I had marked on the map my best guess as to where I was detecting it. So I guess I am starting to get the hang of triangulation with the sensor.
I go into the shrine, and this one has no puzzle for me. I am given a powerful fire sword and a spirit orb. I decide to leave the sword, for now, because I have so many powerful weapons as it is right now, and I feel like I’m cleaning out the best stuff from every zone in the land without actually facing the major obstacles of each zone in turn, and if I don’t leave some of the good stuff for later, I’ll use it up on weaker, inconsequential enemies first, and then really be screwed when it comes time to fight the Divine Beasts, or Ganon. Now that the shrine is unlocked, I can come back to it any time, and it will hold my weapon for me until I need it.