Kumano Kodo: And So It Begins

I left Kyoto this morning for a train down the coast to the start of this ancient trail said to be spiritually cleansing; I could use some of that. I had lunch I’m 99% sure was vegetarian at a special place I discovered near the bus station in Kii-Tanabe. I stopped at the museum at the foot of the trail for water and to offer thanks I don’t have to dress like the mannequins depicting earlier pilgrims. I also offered thanks to the actual trail before starting, and I was off. The weather couldn’t be lovelier and the forest is lush and peaceful. The only thing is . . . the trail itself; it’s a gorgeous area – spring is bursting out all over – but the incline is a killer. I can walk all day and into the night on relatively even ground; this hours-of-steep climbing is an altogether different animal. And this is to go on for several days. My mind keeps vacillating between I can’t do this and I have to do this. Words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated.

The “path” is tricky to discern in some places, but there are helpful signs here and there. I see only a few other people; I practically have the place to myself.

When I arrive at my accommodations after the first leg, a resident hawk soars over the valley and mountains. The weather is spectacular. The floral scents are intoxicating. Even the frogs here are soothing. I can’t hear any human-made noise. It’s lovely. Heaven. I’m in heaven.

Here are today’s photos. Enjoy.

Yes, these are two shots of the “path.”

This is more pathy, but yikes. Most of the steps are way taller than your average step height.

A new style of bibs.

Live all you can, and don’t forget to send words of encouragement.

6 thoughts on “Kumano Kodo: And So It Begins”

  1. I have great faith in your ability to conquer the trail. I, on the other hand, would be sitting on the side crying. Enjoy.


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