One Man Walking

2008-06-09 Beside the seaside

June 9th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside. Yes I do like to be beside the sea. I’ve just watched sunset over the Sea of Japan and, along with the rest of the day, it has put me in a good mood.

sand dune walk 

Starting from my dam-side camp I thought the day would remain grey, but after I crossed the small hill with the ’sunset station’ on the top things were starting to clear. It was still very early and the quiet town with run-down businesses and empty streets had a very end-of-the-road feel to it. I could have believed I was on the final approach to Cape Soya but alas that is over 5 weeks away. I took the scenic route around the town by way of a lovely path through a forest growing on sand dunes. The trail was clear of debris, well marked and a pleasure to walk. When I eventually popped out the other end I was about to cross the road and start the coastal route north when a man asked if he could ask me a question.
“Are you a walking tourist?”
This struck me as odd, not because I was clearly a tourist who was at the time moving myself around town by the power of my feet, but because he knew a ‘walking tourist’ was a thing one could be. He told me why and I accepted the offer of a drink at his house from where he’d seen me and come to intercept me.

Sato-san has walked from Land’s End to John O’Groats. That’s all the way from the bottom of England to the top of Scotland, so he knows a thing or two about walking. He even made a book about his travels. And just to show he really understands long-distance hikers he said he’d give me a copy except it was probably too heavy. :)

Sato-san walked across the UK 

So I walked north along route 345. The sea looked inviting and I did rinse my shirt but a breeze was blowing and I wasn’t warm enough to get in myself. Later I was going to try an outdoor three-walled shower as it has been a while, but the water was off. So it was back to the road. Curving around each headland or tunneling right through. At one particularly nice spot I saw a familiar face watching me. It was Sato-san again. He’d driven 29km up the coast to get my autograph on the card I gave him and present me with a settai, a present in an envelope, with which I was told to buy beer.I’ll do that tomorrow.
Leaving the abandonned tunnel 

After dinner on a seawall I took a bad short-cut through an abandoned tunnel that got very, very dark and drippy before emerging into thick bushes. I fought my way through and stomped around on the other side, eventually back-tracking to find a quiet campsite to watch sunset. The landscape here reminds me of the Big Sur coastline down from San Francisco that Dad and I drove in 1999. That set me thinking about the other great coasts I’ve seen. Riding around the Greek islands in a warm breeze, bracing against the Atlantic winds on Ireland’s west coast, sipping wine at sunset in Menemsha. But by far the best is still to come. Walking to Cape Soya with Tania to bring this adventure to a close and start what will undoubtably the greatest adventure of them all. Life.
The coast north of Niigata 


Word of the day: i-no-chi = life

Distance today: 46 km

Key:
hiking  ·  movie  ·  photo

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Nana & Grandad // Jun 13, 2008 at 11:29 am

    The seaside at Honshu looked so inviting. You must have enjoyed your
    days walk – better than all the hassles with the bikies.

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