Day 6: Icy wind and rain to Temple 18-19
We left our comfy hotel room and braved the icy wind and rain onto Highway 55 out of Tokushima. It really does something to your mind to have gone so far already and loop back into the city we got off the bus at.... but that’s the way the trail goes.
As we pushed our way through stiff cold winds that bent our umbrellas backwards and braced against cars and trucks rushing past us, spraying us with puddle water we tried to keep our chins up and weather the storm. By the time we reached Temple 18 (Onzanji) the wind had stopped and the sun was out. Originally this temple was off limits to women but Kukai changed that, allowing his mother to enter the temple. Great guy fighting for women’s rights in 800’s.
The route to Temple 19 (Tatsueji) took us through a beautiful bamboo forest and then farmlands lined with orange trees which we sampled as we walked.
Our feet were squelching in our wet shoes and socks and Henro-san Josh had developed a nasty blister on one of his toes. We found a secluded spot at the temple to remove our shoes and try to dry them out a bit. As we were sitting in our “hidden” spot, a lady visiting the temple came up to us and gave us ossetai in the form of little bags of nuts and shortbread cookies. She then asked whether we would mind if she photographed us... and of course we didn’t mind. Kindness prevails! A little later she appeared again and handed me a brand new small towel and tried to give me a pair of socks. I graciously accepted the towel but literally had no space in my backpack for more socks.
An extremely long road walk ensued as we made our way towards a Henro hut within a couple of kilometers of Temple 20. Upon arrival in the dark, we found another Henro was already camping in the hut, so we pitched our tent beneath some trees on a level-ish area beside the hut.
We have hiked 26km today... only just getting into the groove.
We fell asleep to the hooting of an owl outside our tent... my aumakua is with me.