Thursday, 21 May 2015

A Mostly Bland Day - 15th May 2015

I don’t really have too much to write about today. I checked out of the hotel, caught the train back to Joukouji station, and then walked for nine hours. The trail was pretty bland for the most part, not much in the way of scenery, and I can only think of three notable things that happened. 

Firstly, around midday I jumped a metre high when I almost stepped on a snake. It was a decent size too. I though it might be dead, then I poked it with my trekking pole and it sprung around and bit it!  Lucky I didn’t step on it or that trekking pole would have been my leg.

Secondly, about an hour later, I encountered a group of about one hundred Japanese Self Defence Force Recruits jogging along a part of the trail, obviously on a training exercise. The whole group was ordered to halt in order to let me pass, and as I did, every single one of them shouted “Konichiwa” to me. And I really mean they shouted, just like army recruits do in the movies when addressing a drill sergeant. The over the top enthusiasm of their greetings had me laughing by the end of the column, and the very last recruit look me straight in the eye and burst out in laughter too. It was just an odd situation.

The third thing I can think of is the adventure my GPS led me on at the end of the day. There was a park on my map that looked big enough for camping in, but I had to take a detour off the trail, down a road, past some houses, and over a small footpath that appeared on my map. As I was walking up the road that led to the path, there was a farmer outside his house and he asked me what I was doing. 

"I'm going to take the path at the end of the road to the park" I said

"Good luck" he replied, "it’s pretty overgrown and a bit scary." 

Well, I wasn’t going back, so I pressed on and found out exactly what he meant. The trail resembled something out of an Indiana Jones movie, it was overgrown with shrubs with vines across the path, mud that almost encompassed my boot on several occasions and numerous large spider webs I got caught in. Not a very fun way to end the day.

There is a muddy trail underneath all of it

A machete moment waiting to happen,  if only I had one

Taking off my shoe revealed the mud I collected along the way

Fortunately, when I did eventually get to the park there were ample spots to choose from to sleep. I am currently writing this from the top of this structure I found:

And whilst I would have liked to camp at the top, there is rain and wind forecast for tonight, so I took the smart option and set my tent up under it instead.

That's about it! I'm going downstairs to sleep.

Distance: 29km

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