Today I’m doing a circular route, returning to the same hotel for another night. Which has the awesome benefit that I can leave a bunch of my things in the room, so my pack is super light.
I got a late start this morning, unfortunate because I had the longest and hilliest hike to date: about 20km or 12.5 miles. With several 300 meter elevation changes.
A beautiful start to the morning:
After an unexpectedly steep and long climb/descent, I encountered my first “osettai” or gift that people give to pilgrims. In this case, an amazing generous snack and beverage. Everything on the plate was local except the orange.
A kilometer or two later and I got my second ossetai, from a younger woman who pulled her car over to the side of the road to give me candy. I wish I’d taken a picture with her.
After that … lots and lots of walking. Hills. Paths that were a bit harder to follow than in the past. And a snake!
Eventually I arrived at Temple 45.
Time to start the return journey. A stop for a photo with incredible cherry blossoms, chatting with a new Japanese friend, and another plate full of osettai snacks.
Last but not least … beers at the grocery store with two Japanese guys and two Italian Buddhist monks.