After a very sound sleep, I woke to find my toe swollen, sore and purple so I decided not to walk the relatively short 14km today in preparation for the big one on the last day. The girls set off on the local bus to the start of the next leg of the Kumano and I went for a short “hobble” along the street of Yunomine.
This small village is very famous for the natural hot sulphur springs. Yesterday afternoon I had sat in the outside onsen hot spring, with big toe above water, and enjoyed the soothing effect on my weary body, so I was interested to head along the road and see some of the water exit points.
Directly opposite the onsen was a small bubbling pool surrounded by an open fence. You could buy eggs in a mesh bag from the convenience store across the road and lower them into the pool to boil them to eat! I didn’t try any but was told they have quite a unique flavour.
My taxi arrived at 10am and off I went to the next destination. I arrived just before our luggage ( our cases are transferred by courier each night to the next accommodation) and settled in to update the Blog and catch up on emails. The accommodation for this evening is a converted school, with all the classrooms divided into 2 person rooms.
Not sure if I have mentioned this or not but all our accommodation has been of traditional Japanese style. This means before bed, either you or someone from the ryokan moves the small table and chairs to the side and lays the futon, doona and stone pillow out for the night. We quickly learnt that there are extra futons and doonas in the wardrobes and proceeded to add as many layers as possible between us and the floor!
I was seriously thinking of having a snooze but saw the storm clouds rolling in again so opted to head into the village of Koguchi to get more cash, should I need to cab it out the next day. The school conversion is helping the local community to survive and looking at the local shop, it needs it! On the way down to the post office ATM, I passed three older Japanese who I thought were waiting for a bus. It turns out they were waiting for the local “mobile supermarket”. I too stocked up on goodies to share with the girls for our pre dinner nibbles.
The girls arrived back before I managed to get my snooze, all looking rather bedraggled as the rain was, by this stage, quite heavy. I was informed that the last part of the trail was downhill, slippery and wet; at one point they were side stepping down, so I think I was right in deciding to sit this one out.
However, the rain continued to get heavier and consistent through the evening and it was looking more and more likely that the last full day of our walk, the most steep and difficult, would need to be aborted. We all agreed to make a call in the morning but at the time of retiring for the night, it wasn’t looking good.