For one thing, those are some fine photographs and I see somebody knows the proper use of wide angle and so on. Yep, those are good.
Sort of makes me sad in one respect, though --- not the photos --- this:
<=> quoting <=> We had to scale a steep and slippery slope in the forest before reaching an unmarked path ...
<=> <=> <=>
There sure was a time when I would have done the same thing, even with maybe the wife behind me insisting I was being stupid --- in other words 'careless' --- but these days I have to pound away on this keyboard and look at what was in the past for this human unit.
I think I really feel like an old man with this style of thought, but then I am also writing from experience. Some of the finest moments I have had in the hills/mountains/and even flat land in other areas of the planet when everything was flat, --- some of the finest times were when I simply got sick of that nice, neat path that thousands others had walked on and went off into a direction I thought I knew where I was going. Sometimes I did, but it was still neat. You should know about my one and only hike up to the top of Mt. Fuji. Now that was seriously neat and some stuff on that hike I know for a fact some folks never saw/see. That one started at the station (train type station, by the way). But an old man burned my boots, too. He was supposed to know better and said he did. And when an army pistol belt gets soaked from sweat you know the boots were in wet condition.
And, yes, I only did Mt. Fuji once. I know the old expression about more than once.
Nope, shortcuts are okay if you are in good shape and it has some degree of thinking about safety. You can't completely dump safety from the equation.
I suggest you don't change that 'off the path sometimes' style.