Day 1: Taneichi to the top of Hashikami-dake (Mt. Hashikami)

Day 1: 

As is traditional, instead of getting a good rest, I spent the night alternating between dreaming that I'd overslept, and waking up.

I caught the 7:12 train to Taneichi after buying a breakfast that, in retrospect, was ridiculously small. One piece of bread? What was I thinking? I should have bought every rice ball in the store!

Anyway, onto the local train I went to my starting point at Taneichi. It was not easy to find the path. I had been expecting signs and neon light and fireworks, but there was nothing. Also, this was the point I realized my stupid A3 maps were useless. Maybe going on this trip was a mistake? I wandered in circles for a while before looking up the path on the online map. Success. I let out a little "oooh" as I came down the steps to the ocean, as sea urchin divers (?) continued their work right in front of me.

Walking the Shiokaze trail, I found that if you follow the path, many things will just make your jaw drop, they're so pretty. Put the other way around, if there's something nearby that looks amazing, there's a very good chance that by going there, you will be staying on the path.

Anyway, I started walking north, watching the ocean, the seagulls, and the folks drying konbu seaweed. At one point, the path I was on was roped off, so I got on the 247, the road closest to the ocean. If this happens to you too, just get back to the seawall to see the ocean when you can, and return to the 247 when you can't. One of the konbu gals I talked to actually drove and stopped her car to call to me out the window. "Stay with the ocean! This area was protected by the tsunami because of that wall, so it's OK! You should walk while watching the ocean!"

"All right, I will, thank you!" I said, beaming and waving as she drove off. What was this place? Do people really have conversations this moving before noon? It was like I'd been transported into one of those NHK morning dramas. Anyway, I did what she said, and went back up the stairs and walked along the seawall.

I walked along 247 when the seawall ran out, and turned right at the fork in the road with the solar panels. Keep with the solar panels. An older dude in a kei truck smiled and waved at me: I guess one of the locals aware of the Shiokaze trail. I looked at everyone's lovely garden until a lovely white lighthouse showed up. I thought, "I'll just pop over and look at the lighthouse, then get back on the trail." But in actuality the lighthouse was the trail, and the parking lot I turned into had a large, glorious panel in multiple languages on the trail. What's more, there was a path visible to the eyes that I could follow! Hooray!

I went up the path to Hashikami lighthouse, refilled my water and had a restroom break, then continued on to the "Akaishi-daimyojin Shrine and Sanriku Tsunami Memorial," which is a shrine for tombstones that were washed away and recovered in previous tsunamis, as well as a memorial for the 1896 Sanriku Tsunami. (According to that helpful multilingual panel!)

I continued north, finally finding Nomura alcohol shop, my checkpoint to get a map. There are 13 checkpoints through the trail where you can get a map, and I figured out that the closest one to my start point was Nomura alcohol shop. Before I went in, I saw a flash of bright blue along the boats. A Common Kingfisher! What a lovely little bird.

The lady in the shop was well acquainted with the sake shop's role as a "place to get stamps," because there's a stamp booklet for the trail, but when I asked for maps, she had a hell of a time finding them. Could I have a bandanna too? I asked. "We didn't get those," she said, flummoxed. "By the way, I saw a Common Kingfisher," I said, trying to make small talk. "I don't know what you're saying," she said. "Do you know a Common Kingfisher?" she asked the older fellow at the counter. "Yeah," he said, "it's a bird."

In any case, I recommend Nomura alcohol shop for alcohol buying, and stamping booklets, and maybe not much else? I went outside to puzzle at my map, and Nomura alcohol shop lady came to try and help me. Fortunately, you, reader in the future, don't have to repeat my mistakes, but I got spooked by the lady and just went chugging off in a random direction, which happened to be the correct direction. (Turn left, aka "west ish" at Nomura alcohol shop if you're taking the trail up).  And thus, I missed my only opportunity to buy any food items before reaching the top of Hashikami-dake, dooming myself to a diet of bread, nuts, Calorie Mate bars and powdered peanut butter until the next day. Repeat after me: shop before turning left! Shop shop shop!

So, anyway, continued west, past the train tracks, past some happy looking hikers coming down from the mountain, past some houses, past some construction work, and reached a mysterious fork in the road. It was past noon, so I had a gourmet lunch of nuts, and bread, while looking longingly at local plant that looks like a strawberry, but is not a strawberry, and is neither poisonous nor tasty. (So I hear. I don't eat strange plants even if someone tells me about them. Probably the plant takes issue at being pigeonholed like this, but whatever, I'm a human. These are my priorities.)

I went left at mysterious fork, this missing the Giant Ginkgo Tree. You should go right, and go see the tree. Good news is both paths meet up at the Most Amazing Roof Ever Straight from a Miyazaki Movie. Which is what I'm going to call it. This is my personal blog and I can write whatever I want. Nyah nyah nyah.

After I was done goggling at that roof, I continued to go straight,  chugging up an incline thinking "I sure hope this is the path." At some point, I realized it was not, and went back down to the amazing thatched roof. There was a gravel path making a right, that I thought was totally not the way. But in actuality, it totally was. Green dotted line on the map means "unpaved road."

The gravel path leads to a paved road. Turn left on paved road.
I continued chugging straight. It was about 2 pm. I thought, I am the most studliest of hikers and am making great progress. I should make it to campsite by 3 pm. And what's more, there is some kind of teahouse coming up. I can eat food and drink tea there.

Buildings came into view, and I immediately went into the restroom on the right. My sunburn was getting worse, so I popped out into the parking lots and reapplied. Two older ladies were sitting nearby. Where was I going? Mt. Hashikami, I said. They gave me some encouraging news: the peak was very far away. Very very very very very far away. What time was it? 2:30, I said meekly. Oh no, I should have gone in the morning. And that pack looks very heavy. I sure did have a bad sunburn, too! Maybe these ladies had been cheerleaders or life coaches or some other kind of encouraging profession before they retired!

"It's really far away! So far!" said one of the ladies in farewell. "Thanks! You don't have to say it more than once!" I said, escaping up the path. There had been a map nearby, but I couldn't figure out how the hell it related to where I was, and the ladies' explanation was in probably Aomori-ben and sounded more like someone babbling through a mouthful of marbles than speaking in Japanese. No tea, and no soba noodles for me.

Thus began the real meat of the trek up Mt. Hashikami, which I spent talking to myself, singing, stewing about the old ladies, and talking to various birds that popped up. At one point, when I was having a very spirited rant in Japanese at an especially noisy Japanese Bush Warbler about "aren't you a noisy little bugger," a young slim woman appeared out of thin air from behind me, and ran past me up the path. Possibly she was a robot. I don't understand people who run up mountains.

Follow signs that say 階上岳 or 頂上

The weather alternated between drizzle, and full-on rain. This was not inconsistent with the weather forecast for that day, which I had hoped was lying.

Finally, a sign came up that said "2.5 km to campsite," which I was deliriously happy to see.

Of course, 2.5 km actually meant "a million billion miles," and after eons of hiking I made it to Tsutsuji no Mori campsite. Or more like, in an inhuman show of strength, I walked over to moo at the nearby cows, then went back to Tsutsuji no Mori campsite.

It began to rain again in earnest. I looked for the person in charge of the campsite, but it turned out I was the only human being there. Someone had called my cellphone during the trek up: the person I had agreed to pay my 500 yen and change to was going to drive up from the city office to meet me. I figured this would take a while, so I set up the tent.

It sounds so easy, written down like that. "I set up the tent." Isn't that interesting? A hypothetical pack is much lighter than a real pack, and Mt. Hashikami in reality is much steeper than it is in theory, and saying "I set up the tent" is a really easy thing to say, but actually it was not fun. Did I mention this was my second time camping for real, and my first time camping alone? There was so much water everywhere, and my socks were wet, and everything was wet. But I got the damn thing set up.

Guy in charge came, accompanied by a mysterious person who seemed to be there to chat with the guy in charge. They chatted with each other for a bit while I awkwardly stood in the bathroom shelter area. Once they had sufficiently chatted with each other, I paid my 500 yen and change and handed over my original application form for using the campsite. "There might be another group of three coming in," said the guy in charge. "You have my number if you need anything."

I thanked him and had half my body into my tent when the man in charge of chatting started talking to me in English. "Where are you from?" said he. "Oregon," I said. (Keep in mind it's still raining.) "Where in Oregon?" said he. "Silverton. Can I go into my tent?" Said I. "Oh, I know, near Crater Lake," he said. "No!" I said, "What the hell do you care! And it is raining and if you don't let me go into my tent I'm going to find a cord and strangle you to death with it!" I said, inside my head, where he could not hear me. But possibly he picked up on the murderous vibes, because he left me to it shortly afterward.

I mopped up inside of tent, changed into dry clothing, ate a gourmet meal of more nuts and bread, and felt much more like a human being. There were no people, and I was only 95% protected from the elements. It was a very strange feeling. I feel asleep eventually, after listening to some podcasts on my iPhone. I'd hiked around 21 km, and had another big day ahead of me tomorrow.

2 件のコメント:

  1. Thanks! Look forward to reading the rest!

  2. Sounds like a scenic, although wet and challenging hike. Glad you passed the berries by.