Good news is the typhoon and heavy rain wasn’t going to be effecting us today. Bad news is we didn’t need to use plan B and hunker it down in a hotel in Tokushima, but would do the climb to Temple 12. There was lots of chatter at the ryokan Yoshino about who would be walking. Interesting how the owners took a vested interest in our well being and glad to see we would be all walking on the weather forecast changed.
It was like old home week when leaving Yoshino. We waited outside as everyone took turns putting on their hiking shoes. We were joined by ohenros from Montana, USA and Australia (Kendo was Japanese who was now living in Australia). They stayed at the ohenro hut at the onsen. There was also the Netherlands, California, USA, Spain and of course Bob and I from Canada.
Here is a picture of us heading out and one I took of the wonderful breakfast.
Have acquired a taste for eating fish with their heads on. They are very tasty. You just don’t think about it and go by taste.
As we reached the parking lot near Temple 11 a car started to beep it’s horn and it was the two ladies from Taiwan we met earlier. The international family was growing.
At the start of the trail to Temple 12 there are 88 shines with the Buddha from each of the 88 Temples. It is a mini 88 Temples. Here is a picture of one and the map.
Bob and I let the younger ohenros lead the way, full of energy and enthusiasm.
Even though the Route Guide says it will take 4-6 hours. It took us 8 hours. My strategy was to rest more this time, so not to be completely exhausted at the temple. When ever I came across a bench or rest area, I said to Bob, someone made the effort to build this for ohenro to use, so I’m using it. At the first shine rest area there is a quaint little statue. I figure it came from the Netherlands with the little extra tulip and wooden shoes added for good luck. No doubt an ohenro lightening there pack.
There is always discussion on how to make ones pack lighter.
At the second shine there was a nice water spout where I filled my empty bottles with water, since I had downed the first three on the first climb.
I was able to soak my small towel in the cold water and scrub some of the sweat from my face and neck. It ended up being a cloudy day with sunny breaks, which made it cooler for walking. If it had been 35 degrees celcuis with high humidity I would never have made it.
We were joined by the Taiwanese ladies. As we sat eating our rice balls for some energy, Bob said the ladies are soaking their feet in a troft. I said you got to be kidding. So off we went like little kids to have our turn to soak our feet in the cold water. There were screams and laughter of I can’t believe I am doing this. But did it feel good.
On the second big climb just as you round the corner there is a huge statue of Kobo Daishi welcoming you to the top.
I liked the moss covered statues, which I found very interesting.
After going thru a small town in the valley we started our third hard climb. Boy was it a killer with slippery rocks and roots. You had to be careful not to fall in your exhausted state. Bob took two small tumbles on the way down one mountain, but lived to talk about it. I told him if he dies I was not humping him down the mountain but would leave him covered in leaves next to one of the ohenro tombstones you see of ohenros who had died along the way. I would send a message to Canada to come get him. I am just joking of course. We laughed and understand how someone could easily fall and perish doing this.
We finally made it to the temple and after re-energizing ourselves with royal milk tea and caloriewise energy snack they were selling in the temple vending machine, we did our routine and got our well-deserved books stamped.
As I was taking a photo of one of the statues the two Taiwanese ladies snuck in the picture. They made it to the top after us. We were leapfrogging each other all the way during the climbs.
All in all a good tiring day and this statue picture represents how I felt when we arrived at our accommodations after the hike down the mountain.
We were proud to make it and there was much discussion over supper of our experience with our fellow Spanish, Dutch and American ohenros that were staying at Nabaiwa-so.