Friday, 29 May 2015

Broken Trail - 26th May 2015

It was a bit rough going for most of the day today. To begin with I wasn't in the best of mood when I awoke. I find the place I pick to sleep can really effect my morale first thing in the morning. If it is a nice, open spot with sun and a view I feel on top of the world, but if it has none of these, like this morning, I grumble to myself the whole time I'm packing up. To make matters worse I ran out coffee the day before and had none to drink. So I wasn't in the best moods when I set off.

The first half of the day felt more like the Kokoda Trail than the Tokai Shizen Hodo; it was all up and down, and stiflingly hot. A lot of the trail infrastructure had fallen into disrepair too:

There are meant to be stairs here

and here

In parts the track had been washed away

Often exposing whatever lay underneath
The bridges were falling to bits too. With this one enough dead trees had washed up against it to start pushing it to one side.

And I swear this one almost broke as I crossed it. 
I did see some really nice things along the way though:

Somewhere on Mt Nasugahara
There was a really picturesque river the trail followed
That provided many perfect looking swimming spots like the other day 
I resisted until I got to this one, and then went for a dip
I got out and walked a few hundred metres up the trail and saw this skeleton of a deer in the water. It had been long dead and I doubt it could cause me any harm, but it did remind me that I should treat my water before I drink it.

And finally the road out of there, about two hours later than I expected
I had cooked the last of my noodles somewhere on Mt Aburahidake, and by the time I got down I was starving. I hadn't had a non-instant meal in two full days, and the thought having something fresh was getting me extremely excited. Instead of continuing on the trail and facing unbearable hunger, I decide to take a detour that added a few kilometres but took me past a town that would surely contain a supermarket.

The problem with going off the trail though is that the roads can be dodgy. Trucks were zooming past me and I was often hugging the fence

I took the back streets a much as I could to avoid being run over
But this added more time, and it was getting hot

And it felt like the road just kept going on and on...

Six kilometres, some sun burn and a litre and a half of water later, I rolled into the town of Koka and went to the first food store I saw:

A fruit and vegetable shop
Where I bought a grapefruit and the biggest apple I have ever had in my life. My body absolutely loved me for the fruit 
Then I rolled along the main drag a bit further and came across a supermarket
I could barley contain my excitement sitting down to eat this
It's kind of funny, whenever I go into a supermarket when I'm on the trail I'm about as inconspicuous as a punch to the face. I waltz in a foot above everyone else, often sweating, dirty and disheveled with a huge backpack on my back. I take a basket and try to go about my shopping, all the while people keep giving me sideway glances. At the counter I always ask for extra plastic bags, chopsticks and moist towelettes if they have them (as if I get enough of them I can use them to get myself semi clean), they all come in useful, and the ladies who work the counter always have to wait while I try to fish the right change out of my ziplock bag that doubles as a wallet.

I got back on the trail and hiked another few kilometres before I began keeping a eye out for a spot to sleep. Around 6pm I found this place overlooking some sort of factory the trail passed by:

The funny thing though was that this factory, and the park overlooking the factory, were really in the middle of nowhere. I mean no town or anything around them. It was kind of odd, but a great spot nevertheless.

I got set up and used my superior view to watch the workers go about their business for a while.
I couldn't be sure but I think these were the mountains I came from two days earlier
The sunset turned out to be really good
Taken about fifteen minutes after the first one
After seeing that awesome sunset I doubled down on the good times and had fried chicken with rice for dinner and a bag of cookies for desert. And so although it was a hard day, the end has definitely made up for it, and I'm feeling very content right now. I think I am going to watch a episode or two of the Simpson and get some rest.

Distance: 30.5km

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