Monday, 8 June 2015

Dangerous Road - 4th June 2015

No one brought a axe down upon my tent last night, much to my relief. To be honest, I surprisingly slept really well. It felt as soon as I had shut my eyes I was asleep, and any thoughts of an knife wielding Suzuki driver were far from my mind. I woke up early and began packing up so I didn’t get caught and accused of desecrating a holy site, and was away by half seven.

It was another one of those rather uneventful days again, at least up until the afternoon which I will get to in a moment. In the mean time these are some of the things I saw:

The trail took me into the towns and mountains to the north of Kyoto

The town of Kurama
This was outside Kurama Station, I think the sign read something about being used annually in a festival
It then led me into the outskirts of Kyoto
The weather was good, although windy
And these two tiny houses (yes, two) got me thinking about what the layout inside would be like, and how they would fit anything in them
The trail then led me up Mt Taku, which was not too hard at all compared to yesterdays climbs, and then down the other side to route 162, which the trail followed for several kilometres. This is where things got interesting. From the map the road seemed just like many of the other mountain roads the trail has followed so far, so nothing alerted me to what I was going find. See, up until now the Tokai has often followed windy, narrow mountain roads, but never busy with huge trucks, windy, narrow mountain roads. I started walking down and it soon became apparent this was not going to be safe. Let me show you what I mean:

It was narrow like this almost all the way down...

....and windy too
And I had to contend with these huge beasts flying past me, and as you can see, there was often nowhere to get out of their way. So I just had to make myself as thin as possible and hope they wouldn't flatten me
It was not a situation that I enjoyed one bit and to be honest it scared the hell out of me. At one point I had just rounded a corner when a truck came flying past me no more than a foot away. Holy shit! I leant against the barrier for a few moments catching my breath and cursing whoever had designed this section of the track. It was a seriously dangerous situation and I wanted nothing more than to get off that cursed mountain road. So for the first time on the entire walk I started to run. It wasn’t an easy thing to do with 17+ kilos on my back, but my motivation to get off the road was strong and by the time I got to the safety of this car park the road ran directly through I think I had run at least two kilometres:

I was feeling very very relieved
Anyone else thinking of doing the track, then I highly recommend you avoid this part. It's just not worth the risk.

Feeling lucky to have made it down at all the rest of the afternoon felt like a gift, and I enjoyed it thoroughly:

I was taken into a narrow river valley that had restaurants lining the sides of the river

The path then separated from it and took me further down
Where I finally found this flat spot to set my tent up...
...right beside this river I could have a wash in

Distance: 30.5km

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