Adventurer, Writer, Couch Potato.
I woke up yesterday at my hotel in Sapporo at 7:00am. Had breakfast and double checked my gear and headed out at around 9:00am. I started heading in the direction my GPS was showing me to go. Little did I know I was walking for about 20 minutes in the opposite direction as my GPS had not yet configured itself to the satellites. Annoyingly I headed back to where I started and began again in the right direction. I was feeling great, feeling strong and my pack was heavy but not giving me any issues.
The weather was amazing; the sun was shining and it was around 19 degrees. I decided to stop after about 2 hours and take off some layers of clothing. I then continued walking south. At around 12:00pm I saw a park and decided to stop for lunch.
The hustle and bustle of the city was far behind me and I was heading towards the mountains. My shoulders were beginning to ache but my feet were holding up well. The sun was starting to heat up and I could feel my skin burning. I stupidly packed my sunscreen at the bottom of my bag so decided to just keep on going without it. I was on a new road and could see the mountains appearing before me. It was an amazing view.
Then it all changed. The road I was on acted as a wind tunnel for the mountains which was bellowing through towards me and the road was uphill which appeared to just keep going and going. At just after 2:00pm I had to stop and rest. My shoulders were giving me a hard time and I needed to refill my water bottles. I sat on the side of the road for around ten minutes until I decided to head off again. The pack felt like it was getting heavier and heavier each time I put it back on so I thought it best to just continue on until I get at least 20km for the day.
I was at around 15km in and a nice lady came and walked with me for a while. She spoke a little English and was asking me where I was going. It did take her a while to comprehend that I was walking to Osaka. After our conversation she said goodbye and walked off into the forest to pick wild vegetables for her family. The one thing she told me was that I was at least 2 hours away from anywhere I could camp or stay. Something I did not want to hear.
I put my head down and was taking it one step at a time. My shoulders and back were in agony, my feet were beginning to hurt and the wind and hills were slowing me down so much I was contemplating just stopping somewhere hidden and just put my tent up. It was getting close to 6:00pm and I was still 30 minutes to the nearest town. Then I came around a bend and saw a sign for hot springs!
I arrived and dropped my pack, took off my shoes and headed for the springs. The staff that worked there gave me a locker so I put my clothes in it and went in. I did not know that it was a naked hot springs so it was a bit of a shock when i got an eyeful of dick and balls. I went back and put my shorts in my locker and headed in with my birthday suit on. I did feel strange at first getting stared at by Japanese men who were mostly in their fifties and I being the only westerner. They watched everything I did which did not help with what I did next.
I basically did a cannonball into the first spring. I unfortunately did not read the sign that said 16 degrees as I assumed they would all be hot. I made a high pitch yelp that I have never made before and jumped out and dived into a hot pool. I then thought if I just keep doing that they might think it is what westerners do at hot springs. They eventually got bored with me and went back to relaxing.
I stayed there for about an hour and a half and had a little nap until I realised it was getting dark outside. I quickly got out and went to reception to ask if there was anywhere nearby to camp or stay. To my luck they told me they were actually a small hotel and they had one room left. So I took it. It was a relief because I did not feel like walking more after such a relaxing soak. I checked in and had some dinner. After serious contemplation I chose to book one more night and spend the day soaking in the springs and get a massage.
I walked 23km from where I started. Tomorrow will be closer to 30km so I am going to rest and relax before another big day.