You would expect that coming up to Osorezan by bus means you go back to Shimokita by bus. However, for the intrepid – or naive – you can walk back down the mountain to Ohata then bus it back to Mutsu and Skimokita.
Talk about being super prepared, I had packed sun screen, hiking socks, a sun hat and ‘tenugui’ sweat towel I had borrowed from the hotel in Aomori.
I can’t remember exactly where I found out about this route down. With an A4 print of a section of a topographical map in hand, I was ready. Too bad the landmarks and notes on the map were in Japanese. But what could go wrong following a river downhill to the sea?
There is something exciting about not relying on a real map or wi-if for guidance. (The track is indicated as a road of some sort on Google Maps). With that thought in mind I made my way back past the bus stops on Route 4 and turned off on what looked like an old logging track.
The track runs close to the beautiful Shozu River as it carves out an impressive path though narrow gorges, tumbling rapids and small falls for some 12 kilometres to the small village of Shozugawamichi. Close to Osorezan the track resembles an old road with apparent recent vehicle activity. It then narrows and recent use is less evident, but it is clearly a track rather than a walking path. Maybe a former use was for logging or in part might be an old railway with so many gentle grades and curves.
Alone these quiet places you can be anywhere in the world. Not a building to be seen, not a person to pass by. As the kilometers ticked on I was buoyed by the exhilaration of being somewhere unlikely to be travelled by many visitors, and being freed from the restrictions of schedules. Walking with a smile.
That was until … the attack by hornets or giant bush flies or whatever they were. Incessant attackers swarming to land and bite on any bead of sweat on my head, neck, arms and legs. Swatting endlessly with my tenugui, the beauty of the place was soon reduced to a blur.
I just wanted to get out of there! Longer strides turned into a fast walk, and then a quick jog to get out of this forest of hell. I would have ran if my old legs would have agreed.
After about 15 minutes of flailing around like a mad man, the attackers disappeared as quickly as it appeared. Heart beats soon returned to normal and I had time again to take in the surrounds with pleasure. It’s as if it never happened.
Of course, being too busy swatting the buggers there was no time for photographs of the avengers. So did it happen at all?
Out of the forested trails now, and out onto the tarmac of rural roads heading to the sea at Ohata. On this warm autumn day, this flat 3 kilometer part of the walk was the hardest.
Soon I was at the local bus stop for the short trip into Mutsu. It was no surprise the bus arrived on time.