One Man Walking

2008-04-22 The light at the end of the tunnel

April 22nd, 2008 · 1 Comment

From my cocoon I emerge into a grey world. Alas, the same weary walker that entered. A little rested and a little smellier. Some day I’d like to break out shiny and new. Don my iridescent pack and waft over the hill on the breeze. But today I am just damp and clammy. I pack up my shell, heft it on to my back and ooze up the hill leaving a sweaty stain where I rest.
The shortcut to Shiiba worked well but somewhere along it I worked out there had been an error. The next stretch could not really be 17.5km the line was too long. I asked a local and he said 16km. Half an hour out of town I passed a sign saying 35km and figured someone somewhere knows the distance and is pushing an agenda of misinformation on me. I’m surprised I made it so far today. Though Gokase was my target originally I reduced that with the funny signage. The 3km long Kunimi Tunnel was my next plan but that came up too early so I just kept pushing.
Steam Craig 
On and on Steam Craig keeps on running through the beautiful Japanese country side. And it was beautiful. From Shiiba I spent five hot hours marching through a deep gorge listening to the clear water tumbling over rocks below me. The bank was too steep to climb and there were so many dams I didn’t want to reach it much anyway. By 5pm I was out of the gorge and rapidly approaching Gokase anyway. I was chastising myself for not being brave enough to ask a local if there was somewhere to pitch a tent when I spied an open door. Inside I met Kenzo Sokabe who, within moments of me asking for campsites, had called his wife (Satomi) to arrange that I stay in their log cabin down the road! It was 3km north and I’d had a long day but I stuck to my plan of no cars and walked there myself. He’s a carpenter by trade and built this beautiful cabin himself. They quickly vacuumed and I settled in. During winter it’s a cafe/shop for the ski bums, but it’s empty during spring apart from me. We talked a bit and I casually mentioned a friend is also walking across Japan. They think they saw Chris just an hour before me so he’s probably a few km down the road at the town camp ground. Hopefully I’ll catch him there in the morning and we can reach Aso together. So what should my opening line be? “Gotcha!”
Kenzo and Satomi Sokabe 
Before they left Satomi got a bucket of hot water ready for me. There’s no shower at the shop so I went out back out of sight from traffic and washed off there. I feel good tonight.

And so in the end it was not I who was the chrysalis but the day itself, and it emerged spectacular!

Word of the day: kitanai = dirty

Distance today: 47 km

hiking  ·  photo

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 denis // Apr 26, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    For anyone wondering what Steam Craig is on about, it follows an email I sent to Craig as he started from Cape Sata:
    ‘When we visited Japan in 1981 I saw a slogan on a carrier bag “The wonderful steam railway run and run through the beautiful countryside of Japan”. I think you could adopt that, Steam Craig.’

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