Wednesday, March 29, 2017
50 km Walk by the Sea
This is an excellent tour and recommended also for running or cycling. Using the two ferries which connect Amakusa to Nagashima, it is possible to walk around the entire Hachiman Strait in a 48 km loop, and the scenery is great most of the way! All but a few hundred meters were on paved roads. The 18km Nagashima part (foreground) is hilly with four significant climbs, whereas the 30km Amakusa part has two minor hills and is otherwise almost flat.
Having left my paragliding gear in our shack at the Kuratake takeoff the day before, I improvised a 12 kg load with some lead diving weights and a couple of 1.5 liter bottle of Coca-Cola. Similar enough to an X-Alps backpack, I hoped!
Not the best weather today; sun alternating with cloud and an hourly shower with sudden gusts of wind and rain mixed with sleet. Quite cold for this time of year!
With its unique landscape right next to but quite different from Amakusa, Nagashima is a small treasure. The course was a pleasure to hike, although we did not expect the hills to slow us down quite so much, and so we had to run the last 5 km pretty hard to just barely make the second ferry. Had we ridden the first ferry of the day to Nagashima, we would have had an extra 30 minutes to do this part, and it would have been more comfortable...but it was hard to get up at 7 in the morning after a long, late night of looking at xcontest tracks from the Alps!
Back in Amakusa, the ferry docks in Ushibuka, a typical rural fishing town. No pretenses here about how a clothes rack may be used!
Fairly soaked from a passing rain shower near Ubushima Island, also known as Amakusa-Fuji. Two or three times we got pretty soaked, but dried again as we walked at a sprightly pace.
Rainbows are a bonus on these kinds of days. Tiny Matejima Island sits in the middle of Hachiman Strait. During plague outbreaks a couple hundred years ago people were dumped on Matejima and left to die. It is said their plaintive cries could be heard across the straits.
Hard to tell freshly flooded rice fields from the sea! In the lee of Amakusa mountains today, winds alternated from violently gusty to completely calm.
Home stretch (about 10 km to go). Miyanogawachi village, (or, 'Myangaach' in the local dialect).
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