The town of Nakagawa was still asleep when I passed through just before 5am. There were clouds still sitting on the low hills that create this valley but the sky was starting to clear. For 10 hours I walked without taking a break. There was nowhere but the roadside to sit and I had no food to enjoy while resting. The fields here are a rich green and dotted with round hay bales, some of which were being moved about on trailers, or sampled by cows.
There were occasional signs for settlements I didn’t notice. Presumably they related to the next five farm buildings because everywhere has to be part of somewhere. The shiny red barns and silos seem so out of place in Japan but then Hokkaido is known for being un-Japanese. Perhaps it’s the wide open space and lack of Japanese-style plants.
The sky really did clear today, so much so I had to roll my sleeves back down to avoid sunburn. If you’ve grown tired of reading my rain reports, imagine how tired I am of dealing with it.
10 hours without pause is a long time to do anything. I’ve been breaking up my day into two-hour segments and using those change-overs to start another track on my iPod. Be they podcasts, audio books or Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio shows, these audio delights take me to another time and place where the ever-present sound of footfall and traffic don’t bother me. And the reality of 50km on 1 litre of water and a packet of few peppermints can be forgotten, or at least put on hold.
Tonight I’ve claimed a space on the edge of a field with a great view of Mount Rishiri (or is it Rishiri Island? Or both?). The sun has set and I may see stars for the first time in quite a while. My last night in a tent. Tomorrow is my last night alone, then it’s my last day without completing the walk, then it’s my last day of walking!
Word of the day: ni = two (also means other things, strangely including “to”)
Distance today: 59 km