Sunday, 26 September 2010

Day 9: Uenohara - Hachioji

Distance covered: 27km
Weather: Fine

I woke at the ridiculous hour of 4am (after 10 days my internal clock still hadn't adjusted from New Zealand time) and read for a while before dozing off again until 6am. The breakfast buffet was very strange. Gone were the mini-omelets, replaced by scrambled eggs of the strangest, watery consistency. To go with this I had grilled fish (trout, I think), chips with tomato sauce, and tinned peaches.

I left the hotel at 8am, and for the first hour or so the up/down terrain of the day before continued as I made my way along the Sagami River towards Lake Sagami. I took a break at Sagamiko station. The station was quiet when I arrived but was soon filled with hikers arriving by train from Tokyo.

Since I was about to leave the main road and head over the final big pass of my walk (Kobotoke Pass), I stopped at a convenience store to get some rice balls and pound cake to take with me for lunch. It was a Sunday, and there were quite a few cyclists on the road, some of whom stopped at the convenience store to shop. There were also a couple of bosozoku in the car park waiting for their mates. They passed me further down the road, about a dozen of them riding their bizarrely modified motorbikes at high revs but low speed, holding up the traffic behind them.

I left the main road shortly after passing through the old post town of Obara and followed a narrow road that went under the Chuo Expressway and up to the start of the walking track up to the pass. To my great relief, the track was well maintained and there were plenty of other hikers to reassure me I was heading in the right direction. The weather was also good: fine but not too hot. Still, it took me much longer to reach the top than I imagined. I got there at 12.45pm and sat on a bench to eat my onigiri and pound cake. As I was eating my lunch I watched lots of people coming and going, not only along the Koshu Kaido but along other tracks that all seemed to converge at the top of the pass. There was a good view of Hachioji and, in the distance, my final destination: Tokyo.

I began the descent and reached the bottom about half an hour later where there was a bus waiting to take day hikers to Takao station. I think I was the only hiker who didn't get on the buss. At Takao station I took a break before making my final push into Hachioji, which was a more-or-less straight run along Route 20. I reached my hotel at 4.45pm and did a load of washing before heading to a nearby Saizeriya restaurant for dinner. It was raining lightly as I made my way back to my hotel. According to the weather forecast, more rain was likely tomorrow and the day after.

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