I had some truly grand plans of a 2-3 day hike around Niihama, Ehime prefecture including the highest mountain in Shikoku. I planned on climbing a ridge line climbing over more than 20 mountains and 60kms.
I spent the day before mostly preparing at the local Aeon Shopping Centre and then ensuring I knew the route. I even went up to inspect the trail head before going to sleep. However research can only go so far until you have to get your hands or feet dirty.
The day started off as a shocker. I spilt my camelpak water bladder all over my clothes and inside my bag. A lot of cursing may have been heard in the park but I’m pretty sure no one could understand.
I dried things out as best I could and set off. Although not matter how dry I got things, it didn’t matter as I was soon drenched in sweat from the heat and humidity. Like literally drenched. I could wring my shirt out like a wet dish towel.
Further adding to my discomfort were the thousands of flies and spider webs. I was also quickly confronted by Japan’s poisonous snake. I felt like Shrek and Fiona walking back to Duloch Castle.
Okay so what else went wrong…
- There was fog so I couldn’t see anything
- My new shoes gave me blisters and hurt my missing toe nail
- There was no reception
- The path OFTEN went missing
- I followed boar tracks
- Confronted by boar, twice
- There were almost no signs
- Not a single map
- Not a single other person the whole 12 hours and 20kms I was walking
- Rash from sweat
- I could probably keep going….
Once the rash and blisters kicked it, I had to call it off as I knew there was a road kind of nearby. I could barely walk and wasn’t even halfway. I still had at least another 16 hours of walking to go.
I got down to the road at around 7:30pm getting ravaged by biting flies and waiting on good old deserted route 47 for about an hour until calling it quits as no one had come past. I was walking the 25kms or so on the road back home. Just what I needed….
After about an hour and 4kms of road walking, a car went past, my sign was out and my thumb was up. They did a u-ey and took me to Niihama, legends. My first hitch hike was a success. 最初のヒッチハイクは成功したぞ！
These guys literally saved me and I thanked them a lot on the long(er than I thought) drive back to the starting park, but I was saved! I was so rekt that I just rolled my towel onto the ground and slept in the park for a few hours before making my way to sleep at the long internet cafe: Funky Time.