One Man Walking

2008-07-06 Siesta

July 6th, 2008 · 2 Comments

I’m in the car park of Tokachi-dake Onsen roughly 1,000m above where I started today. I became a brief talking point when I met three girls leaving the onsen building and was polite enough to stand back and let them pass by saying “dozo” in the Japanese way. I was having trouble talking because of my water shortage but got through the basic introductions and left them saying “good times” as I ducked inside for a few drinks.

Lavendar at dawn 

From the graveyard I had camped beside it was only a few hundred meters to the Lavender Forest of Furano. A much better camping spot but the lavender wasn’t at its best yet. By 8am it was oppressively hot and I spent the next few hours staggering along the road side awaiting the next passing bus to create even the slightest breeze. At Bestom I stocked up on food for the five-day mountain trail ahead of me. Now my bag looks monstrous. Much like it did when Vortex called it “Ernie the Enormous”. I could not have walked this far this fast if I had been lugging so much food around.

I passed an amazing ice-cream cafe today and now passing it seems staggeringly dumb. It served a dessert it called “Santa Claus’ Beard” which consisted of half a melon (a cantaloup for Americans) with the seeds removed and replaced by a mountain of soft-serve ice-cream. If I can gather the ingredients in Wakkanai I think I have discovered my celebratory dinner!

Tokachi-dake area 

Onwards and upwards until I needed a rest. The mountains were hidden in haze until I was within about 10km of them. Even as just a line defining ground from sky I was impressed. So impressed that I lay down in the grass beside the road and took my first proper siesta in a long time. It was only half and hour but in those 30 mins I did as little as I could and as I came around and got ready to walk again I really felt like it was the best use of my time.
Dozing in the grass 

And then I came to this car park. I have wandered up the trail a bit, but there’s nowhere to put up a tent so I’ve anchored myself with big rocks on the tarmac. There are at least 5 others here. Two mini-vans arrived and have stayed silent, a third contains three Japanese of at least 50 years old. They’ve come down the hill today and gave me a water report. When I said I was leaving early they mentioned sunrise which I asked for in Japanese. It happens to be the name of a park I saw today. Unfortunately not in bloom yet, but two weeks from now it should be beautiful.

Word of the day: hinode = sunrise

p.s. Toughest conversation of the day: I asked the little old lady at the onsen how much it was, for one night.

“Tonight?”
“No, tonight I have a tent. But later I will return”
“???????” Much rapid fire Japanese that I didn’t understand, so she called in her daughter

“how much is one night?”
“Tonight?”
“No, tonight I have a tent. Maybe later I will return”
“Tonight we are full”
“Ahhh. But how much is one night?”
“Tonight?”

That went on far too long, but eventually I managed to get the price out of them, ¥10,000 for one, or ¥9,000 each for two.

Trail profile 2008-07-06 

Distance today: 43 km

Key:
hiking  ·  onsen  ·  photo

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 kousaku isoda // Jul 11, 2008 at 1:41 am

    日本語で、
    三川台の水場でビバークしていた時、何かわからない大声を聞き驚きました。グレッグは、熊除け鈴、笛を持ってなかったので、「クマデテクルナ」と叫びながら歩いていたとのこと。誰も来ないであろう時間に、テント場でもないところで、ひとりでビバークしていた私は、驚きました。「あの叫びは何!」しかし、大変不安なはずのビバークも、何か安心感ができました。ありかとう。しかし、足が速すぎるよ。グレッグ。

  • 2 Peter // Jul 11, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    Sleeping in graveyards? Goth.
    What kind of food you got for those five days? Powdered? I’ve probably got powdered food for a few weeks in my pack somewhere, but I’ve been lugging around a third bag, a huge plastic one with vegetables, pickles, bread, drinks, dozens and dozens of bags of crisps, meat and cheese (!) etc. The rush hour metro commuters in Russia don’t appreciate us.
    [The spam-stopping words are "Tube Fouling", how appropriate.]

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