Day 19: first casualties

Half-way through the morning, I sat on a bench for a scheduled break. During each of these 10-20 minutes stops, I usually take off my boots and let my feet enjoy some fresh air.

They have the chance to dry up, before going again “in the trenches” and continue their formidable defense against any sort of ground. Step after step.

This time, however, I noticed something different. My left sock had a hole! Just under the foot, at one of the sesamoids (I had to look up “foot anatomy” on Google to write this) which is not by coincidence one of the most pressured spots of the sole.

One of my shoelaces is also about to die. It looks worse and worse every day.

This equipment has got more than 2000 Km of history since I bought it. Sooner or later, I knew it was going to happen.

There’s no time for mourning old socks on the Shikoku Henro, however, so I took a clean one from the bag and carried on.

Today I walked for seven hours and crossed the river Shimanto. The morning brought rain but it didn’t last long. After that, we had patches of sun and many clouds.

Despite the sign, that was clearly not a sunny road.

There was also a small climb today. It makes pilgrims avoid a long 1.6 Km tunnel on the Route 321. It’s an old henro trail and by its poor maintenance status, I would say that the last person who walked it before me was probably Kōbō Daishi himself.

It was very slippery and I had to use ropes and trees to help me keep the balance while going up.

As a matter of fact, I had to endure some “sliding” moments. Luckily it was nothing dangerous, but I hate that feeling. You have to watch every single step and judge the look of each square centimetre ahead of you. Life simulator 2016.

At least I had a good laugh when I saw this path marker.

After that mountain, it was relatively easy cruising to the small facility where I will spend the night.

I haven’t met many pilgrims on the road today. It looks like the walking ones are getting less and less.

A Shinto shrine, along the way.

Tomorrow, I plan on reaching the temple #38, which is on top of the Ashizuri-Misaki Cape. It marks the end of the beautiful Tosa Bay, and I hope it will make up for some great pictures.

It’s a shame I can’t enjoy these places for more than a few moments. But there will always be time to come back in the future.

One thing at a time, though. There are still 51 stamps to collect before returning to Europe. 

This mission is not over yet.