The rain turned torrential last night, and just as I thought I was all dry and snug in my tent, I brushed up against inner wall and noticed it was all wet. I turned my torch on to find water beginning to puddle up inside. It sent me into a bit of a panic. I deduced that it must have been the way I pegged out the outer fly on the right side, as the left side of the inner tent was dry as a bone.
So I donned my wet weather gear (not and easy feet in a small tent), opened the tent flap to be greeted by a wall of rain, and then I stood up and hit my head so hard on the roof that jutted out from the shrine I had camped next to that I was seeing stars.
|I now have a huge lump on my head that is tender to touch|
It was not a good start, and it just got worse. After a minute or so of recoiling in pain, I got enough of a grip on myself enough to get on with the task at hand. I managed to rearrange the fly in a way that I thought would be better. I then jumped back into the tent and got my wet weather gear off as quickly as possible as it was dripping wet. I waited a good fifteen minutes in the dark and then turned the light back on only to find that more water was coming through than ever. So out I went again, being very careful this time not to hit my head, and rearranged the fly a second time. This time I got it, fifteen minutes later the water had stopped. The problem was though, that I had brought in almost as much water via my wet weather gear as was already in the tent to begin with. So I now had to rummage through my bag and get my towel out and start trying to dry everything off. The whole ordeal took a over an hour, and then it took me ages to get to sleep as I was paranoid about leaks that never eventuated.
I awoke at 4:30am to a siren and then a voice on a loud speaker saying they were releasing water from the dam due to all the rain. Fortunately I was high enough not to have to worry about drowning, but unfortunately as hard as I tried I could not get back to sleep, so I got up extra early. The rain had slowed considerably but not stopped, thus I had to put on yet to be dried out wet weather gear and go about the task of packing up in the rain. It is the first time I have had to do it in the wet on this trip and let me tell you it isn’t fun. Trying to keep everything as dry as possible was a stressful task, and rolling up a sopping wet tent and then having to put it in my bag did not make me any happier.
|See what I mean, absolutely drenched|
|Goodbye sleeping spot, may I choose better next time!|
The trail took me on roads around the town of Ibi. It was a bit dreary and wet for the first half of the day, but then the clouds retreated and the sun came out making me feel on top of the world:
It was one of those days where I felt like Franklin in the book “Hurry up Franklin or You’ll be Late,” that is, I just kept getting distracted by things along the way.
Firstly I stopped at a convenience store where I bought lots of food to make up for the breakfast I had neglected to have on account of the rain. I ate two boxed lunches, half a litre of milk and two ice creams, then I sat around for another half hour as I struggled to move.
I forced myself to get a move on, but a few hundred metres down the road I came across a road station and decided to stop again. Often these have the internet for free, unfortunately this one did not, but as I was sitting there a guy who worked there came over and gave me lots of advice on the area. In the process mentioned they had a foot spa for free. Could someone on a long distance walk ask for anything more suitable? So I ended up sitting there for another half an hour dangling my legs in the nice warm water.
|Exactly what I needed|
My feet and legs felt great after the soak and I finally felt ready to get on with some serious walking. The trail took me along the highway for a bit, and then led up a small mountain with some stream crossings. As the sun had come out it was getting hot, and up the top I decided to take off my long pants and put shorts on. When I took off my boot this is what I found:
This is the first time on the trip I have found them on me. I must have picked them up from one of the steams I crossed. Three of them in total. I had heard that you are not meant to just rip them off as the wound bleeds more, so I lanced them:
The first two just fell off as soon as I jabbed them, but the last one was stubborn and I ended up ripping him off which left me bleeding a bit:
NOTE: Some later research revealed that you are not meant to lance them off as they vomit back into the wound and this can cause infection... ewww.
I continued on down into once again another farming plain where the roads were straight as far as the eye could see, and the crop of choice was wheat:
|Perfect walking weather|
|People had put toys at the base of the statue, leading me to believe that the temple was somehow related to children|
|Then there were thousands of these little statues too|
|Some had caps and/or clothes knitted for them|
|And others had butterflies|
All these distractions had meant the day had gotten away from me, and at 5pm I found myself still kilometres away from where I had intended to end up for the day. I was tossing up in my head whether I should keep walking past sunset and try to get to Sekigahara, when I passed this prime sleeping spot:
|A toilet, running water, benches, walls and a roof to shelter me from the wind that has been blowing all day|
|View from the other side|
|It is next to a railway, but trains usually stop around 11pm at night in Japan|
|Trust me, it tasted better than it looks|
Afterwards I got set up in this nice cosy spot: