Friday, 17 April 2015

Not Quite What I Planned - April 16th 2015

So today did not go exactly as planned. I awoke to my alarm at 6am, set it for another hour and went back to sleep. I’m still not used to sleeping in a tent, in a public place, so it took me a while to get to sleep last night. After waking up at 7am, I proceeded to pack up my things, something that took a bit longer than I expected for no particular reason other than I have a lot of stuff.

Whilst I was doing this, a Japanese man walked by my tent and asked me what I was up to. I explained to him my journey and told him I was from Perth. His eyes lit up at me saying this and he proceeded to tell me about how he had lived in Perth for a few months about 40 years ago, that he had been back since and had people come to visit him from there. He then introduced himself as Yuki and invited me back to his house for a coffee. I graciously accepted his offer.

Conveniently, it turned out his house was only a minutes walk off the highway I was meant to be walking down. We arrived to two barking chihuahuas who did not seem like the large, oafish foreigner in their foyer. Yuki-san’s wife would pick up one, put it inside the lounge room, then would go back to pick up the other, and the first one would come running out again before she could shut the door.

We sat down in their dining room and had coffee, which turned into breakfast of rice and bamboo with chicken. We chatted for about an hour or so and Yuki told me about how he used to work for General Motors, and what it was like in Perth 40 years ago. Before I left they loaded me with snacks, vegetable juice, and a hot patches for my foot, Such lovely, genuine, people I am so glad to have met. I got their contact details and gave them the address to this blog, so if you are reading, hello and thank you both.

From there I walked around 12 or so kilometres down the highway and my legs started killing me again. Like, on a scale of 1 to 10, this pain was around 8. It was bad. I took a detour because I need to use the loo, one that took me up and over a small mountain that did not appear on the map. I was so incredibly tired I found a small park and just sat for an hour. Once I got on my feet again the pain had not subsided. I was in agony. I truly think that if I were on dirt I would not have gotten these pains, but because I have been walking on concrete with an extra 18kgs on my back, the repetitive stress of my foot hitting such a hard surface had taken its tole. So, I bailed. Yes, like a wuss I found where the nearest train station was, got on the train and caught it to Takao station. I looked on my GPS and found what appeared to be a big park near the station. I planned to stay there the night and proceed to the trailhead of the Tokai Shizen Hodo the next day.

I got off the train and limped out to the front of the station. I was feeling a bit hungry so I went to ramen place and bought the most calorie filled bowl of noodles they had.

After consuming this, including all the soup, I got a second wind. For some reason my foot did not hurt so bad anymore. I walked up to the park, and for the first time I felt as though I was not in a city anymore. This place was more like a town. People would greet me as I passed, there were woods behind all the houses, and it was quiet, absolutely lovely after coming from Tokyo.

But the plan ended up changing again. On the way up a lady came up to me and asked if I wanted directions. I replied I was heading to the big park at the end of the road. “The graveyard you mean” she replied. Huh!? Nothing on my GPS indicated this!? It just looked like a big park. Well I was too far to go back, so I kept walking and sure enough I found the biggest, most concrete and jam packed graveyard I have ever seen. There were definitely no places to sleep around here. It was getting onto about 4:30pm, so I needed to find a place or else I would be looking in the dark.

I reasoned that I should find a spot closer to the trailhead to save more walking the next day. My GPS indicated there was a small track that ran over what I thought to be hills to the trailhead, which would save me from having to go right around. But once again my GPS led me on an adventure, the track was not exactly what I expected. It was a muddy path wedged between two grave sites, barely visible, that turned into a very steep ascent. As I was trudging up this shitty excuse for a track, trying not to slip to my death, it occurred to me that no one knew I was up here, and that if I fell, there could be serious consequences. Luckily that did not eventuate, and I was treated to the best view of a graveyard I have ever seen.

So after some steep inclines and equally steep descents, I popped out right at the trailhead. “Great” I thought, now I just have to find a nice quiet place to set my tent. No luck, it was a packed tourist spot! Everywhere there were buildings and people, even at around 5pm. So after a bit more looking and then some thinking, I decided to just start the trail and stop at the first convenient spot I found. So I officially started the Tokai Shizen Hodo at the end of a long day.

This first section traverses Mt Takao, a popular tourist spot by the looks. It started with steep concrete roads. As it was already around 5:30 pm, most people were walking down whilst I was walking up. It did not take me long to find a spot though. There was a sign to a rest spot leading off the main trail only about 20 minutes up. It had a signpost indicating it was here. It is a perfect spot to camp with a fantastic view of the outskirts of Tokyo. The only trouble I foresee is monkeys attacking me in the middle of the night for my food. Yes, on the way up I saw warnings about not feeding the monkeys. And now, as I type this, I’m can here what sounds definitely like small mammals prowling through the trees. I might be in for an interesting night.

Song of the Day: Tangled up in Blue – Bob Dylan

Thought of the Day: Cities look absolutely beautiful at night when you’re perched above them on an uninhabited mountain

Distance: About 13km (excluding the train ride)

1 comment:

  1. Bummer about your feet. Hope your feeling better now as youve had a day or two to get into the groove. Seeing Pari tomorrow for brunch :) All the best