I got up at 5:30, had breakfast, and got lunch Onigiris from the Minshuku. Then I began my day just after 6. The moment of decision making. For the past couple of days, I was thinking whether I should walk two sections, as the second section of Kohechi is only 15km but with a 1300m Toge/mountain pass. The 3rd section is only 20km, but another 1000m Toge. I got up early, my legs felt good, so I thought I could walk two sections all the way to Totsukawa Onsen.
The morning was slightly misty, I walked down along the river, and I looked up, mist were vanishing in the morning light. I crossed a bridge and got back into the forest, I started climbing up, my mind fell into concentration.
I was nearly at the top of the mountain when the pass was diverted due to a landslide. The diverted route was no longer the pass but rather a mountain ascent through the trees, marked by fluorescent pink tape. At some point, I couldn’t see the marker for quite some time. According to the map the diversion shouldn’t be that long. The trees weren’t that tall, so the peak couldn’t be that far. I saw a break in the trees and a sign for the peak, Obako Toge. At the top I stood still for a while, trying to cool off, looking at the vista which should have been there, but instead, clouds were flowing rapidly sideways. This was the first Toge, so I must keep moving.
I descended the mountain and came upon a rather quiet village, if I hadn’t planned to walk two sections, I might have stayed here. I had a short lunch break where there are space and public toilet. The sun was strong, and the temperature rose, my feet were also heating up. Time was running out, so I pressed on for another 1000m Toge, followed by a long descent to Totsukawa Onsen.
After crossing Miura Toge, I looked for a place to have a short break, but I couldn’t find a comfortable spot to sit. I passed ruins of houses and decided to have a sip of water and something to nibble. It wasn’t a particularly comfortable place, there are not much light and quite damp. So, I decided to keep walking while eating a banana. Then, all of a sudden, I experienced a shockingly sharp pain in my left hand, the hand holding the banana, which I dropped. I had to scream. I didn’t see any insects because it was rather dark. I walked very fast for a while, thinking it might have been a hornet, and wondered how far I was from the nearest road. At the same time, I got frustrated. By the time I reached the tarmac, I started to think it was a horsefly, although I got swell but it is not getting worse. Then I got even more up set. I had dropped my banana, and I hadn’t managed to kill the horsefly.
The normal road was rather dull. I tried to walk as straight as I could to shorten the distances. By the time I reached Totsukawa Onsen, it was just getting dark, and I was exhausted. I entered the Minshuku, and a lady asked me to fill out a form and if I came by car. I said I got here on foot, she seemed not to quite understand, which struck me as somewhat contradictory given the name of the accommodation, which means ‘Practitioner’ or ‘pilgrim’s onsen of the Sun.’
I had a good room with amazing view, which I’ll show in the next blog post. From the onsen/bath, you could also see the same wonderful view. The only problem with that accommodation was the many stairs for walkers. It shouldn’t have been much of an issue if I had been walking over 30km every day, as I did on the 88, but this was only my second day, and my first 35km. The last thing I wanted to do was go up and down the stairs in tiny vinyl slippery slippers. Dinner was once again botan nabe and fish from the river, along with many other dishes. It was wonderful, but there was far too much food. I managed to eat it all, but this could be a problem as it might hinder my sleep. My body would use a lot of energy to digest rather than recover from fatigue. After the meal, I went straight to the futon.
Kumanokodo Kohechi Section 2&3. 35.78km Taiyo no yu