Thursday, January 14, 2016

Kumano Kodo - The Steep Hike

(Day 6 - part1)

This day was to be the most difficult hike, so I wanted to get started as soon as the sun came up. Breakfast at 6:30 am.


The hike starts going up right away, through people's back yards and between houses, like the day before.




Next, was Waroda-ish Rock, which is kind of famous, I think.  I've seen this rock and  these three carvings on posters and pictures from the area.  I did stop and listen, but I only heard the wind blow, although maybe that was the divine conversation after all.






As I was walking ever upward, I saw a furry creature run into the hole of this rock.  I stayed still and waited for it to come out again, but no such luck.  When I turned around to look back at it, I saw this writing on the tree.  Someone else saw the furry creature here too, maybe another pilgrim.


As I climbed higher and higher, I continued to think about all those people who had walked this route before me.




Onward, I came to the Kusu no Kubo Lodging Remains. The tofu may or may not have convinced me to stay, but a hot bath after a long hike would get me every time.





I keep saying how this trail kept going up, and really it kept going up!  No flat, no downhill, just up.



It took me a full three hours to cover the first 5 kilometers of the day! Poet Fujiwara Teika was oh so right when he wrote "This route is very rough and difficult; it is impossible to describe precisely how tough it is."


As I continued from the Echinzen Toge Pass, it was up and down, with a lot of very steep places.  I could hear the tall trees creaking in the wind and I started thinking about trees falling.  I could see trees on the ground, sometimes crossing the trail, and these were very tall trees. It was a little scary.





Toilets came in unexpected places, but luckily they came along. This one was near a new-ish shrine.




I had my lunch at this little rest stop.  The wind was cold when I stopped to eat, so I didn't stop for long. Those green balls are onigiri (rice ball) covered with a mustard leaf.  It looks weird, but is really good.



I'll write about the rest of this day in another post.

3 comments:

  1. Love reading about your trip. Makes me want to travel and do some hiking...The freezing weather here in Illinois also contributes to the desire.

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  2. Beautiful scenery, what a pilgrimage, thanks for sharing.

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  3. Going up on such a steep trail for 5 kilometers is really a tough thing to do. Great pictures that you took on your way up.

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