10の試練(re:日本一周#5)

5日目は道の駅紀伊長島マンボウから始まる

マンボウの東屋では、徒歩で日本一周3周目って言ってたバケモノみたいな変態おじさんと一緒にテント張ってて、夜色んな話を聞いた。

純粋に「こういう生き方もあるんだなぁ」って思えた。

そんな今日はひたすら山を越えて和歌山県に入るのを目指す

5日目の道のり

航空写真で分かる通り、ひたすら山だ

6時に紀伊長島マンボウを出発して、しばらくは終わらないアップダウンを続けながらも、朝の元気もあって軽快に走る

海山(みやま)町から尾鷲市に入るために3キロほどの山道が待っていたが、ここまではさほど苦しくもなく突破。

しかし、尾鷲市街地を抜けて「さぁ、次の町を目指そう」と思っていたとき、目の前の景色に絶望した。


目の前を塞ぐ険しい山々

今まで越えてきた山とは次元が違っていた

この尾鷲を抜けるための峠道

「矢ノ川峠」という国道42号最大の峠だった

地図で改めて峠を越えるための距離を確認すると、軽く10キロはずっと登り坂

そんな事実と目の前の山の険しさに絶望するも、「あぁそっか。こうやっていくつもある山を毎日のように越えていかないと絶対に日本一周なんて出来ないんだ。」って思えて、挑む決心がついた。

実際この後3年間で何百もの山を越えていく

矢ノ川峠は標高500m程度だが、この後の3年間で成長したヨコイシは標高2000m越えの峠もいくつも越えた。そんなヨコイシが初めて「ちゃんと戦った山」がこの矢ノ川峠だった…

初めて、自転車を押さずに登れた峠だったからだ。

これからいくつも峠を越える中で、矢ノ川峠で強くなった俺は「峠と戦う」楽しさを覚えて、以降自転車を押して登ったことはない。そんな「強さ」を手に入れた10キロの登りだった。

実際、矢ノ川峠は本当にきつかったのを覚えている。

終わらない山道。登っても登っても登りは終わらなかった。つづら折りの連続で、曲がり角の先には更なる山道が続いた。

それに加えて暑さにやられた。この日は35度を越える猛暑日で、シャツは雨に濡れたみたいに汗でビショビショになった。意識も若干朦朧としていたのを覚えている。

それでもこの日のヨコイシは、1日目や2日目に自転車を押して泣く泣く峠を登っていた自分とはどこか違っていた。

「絶対自転車だけは押さない。きつくても自分の足で自転車を漕ぎ続ける」そう固く決めていた。

時速は5キロくらいまで落ちていた。

歩いて押して登った方が全然疲れないし、大して時間も変わらないくらいのヘボヘボさだったけど、絶対に自転車を降りることだけは無かった。文字通り歯を食いしばって登り続けた

そして…

10キロの試練を越えて、峠の頂上へ。

この時の達成感は半端なかった。

この時から峠を越える辛さと、それに勝る楽しさを覚えてしまったみたいだ。

以降、20歳になった3年目の日本一周ゴール直前では、2000m級の峠が連なる日本アルプスに5日連続で挑んで、合計10000mを制覇するという変態さにまで成長するが、今はまだ少し先の話…

そんな矢ノ川峠の頂上に到達したヨコイシを待っていたのは、紀伊半島が作り出す大自然の絶景のご褒美だった。

紀伊半島の豊かな恵みが流れ出す清流沿いをひたすら下っていく。空気も澄んで、汗をかいた体を心地よく冷やしてくれた。

どこまでも澄んだエメラルドグリーンの淀みには、たくさんの魚がキラキラ反射しながら泳ぐ

木の陰からは俺の憧れた「日本」が見えた

時折現れる集落には、人と自然が共存する里山が広がっていた。どこからか聞こえる風鈴の音は、清流の流れの音と混ざって、ふんわりと夏の日本の情緒を感じさせてくれた。

そんな最高のご褒美になった山下りを楽しんで、矢ノ川峠を下り切ると、三重県は熊野市に入った。熊野市から42号はひたすら海沿いの気持ちいい道になる。

南国感溢れる海がお出迎え

そんな風光明媚な海沿いの道を進んで

昼ごはんを食べる為に寄った紀宝町の道の駅ではウミガメを観ることが出来た

なにしろここら辺の海岸はウミガメの産卵場所として有名らしい。

そんなウミガメを楽しんだ後は、いよいよ和歌山県に入った

今日はここから少し先の那智勝浦町の道の駅で野宿予定なので向かっていると

「世界遺産 那智大社」

うわ、世界遺産じゃん。

せっかく旅してるんだし、ここから近いっぽいし、寄り道してみるかー。

って感じでまたもや山を登りながら那智大社へ向かうことに。

自転車で登れるのは、参拝道の大門坂までだったので、大門坂からは歩いて登り始める

ちなみに那智大社へのただの通り道だと思っていた大門坂も世界遺産だったらしく、大門坂に入ってからは景色が一変。

熊野古道の一つに数えられる大門坂には樹齢何千年というような杉の大木が並んでいた

下界とは空気感が違うのが肌で分かった

どこかひんやりしていて、でも、背筋が冷たくなるような怖さはない。まるで自然の神様に包み込まれるような優しさのある空気だ

そんな神域を進んでいくと、森の神様に出会う

国の特別天然記念物に指定されているカモシカだ。まるで山を守るようにこっちを見ていた。

山はあくまでも自然のものであって、人間が干渉しすぎてはダメな領域もあるんだと、確かに確信した。

山の神様との出会いは、峠を越えて、山の険しさと豊かさを肌で感じることの出来たヨコイシへのご褒美だったのかもしれない。

そして神域の大門坂を抜けると、更なる神域の那智大社へ辿り着く。

無事に5日目まで旅を続けられたこと、そしてこれからの果てしない旅の成就を祈った後は、日本三大名瀑「那智の滝」へ

一番の神域はもしかしたらここかもしれない

そう思ってしまうほどの迫力があった

自然の強さをまざまざと感じさせられ、今日野宿する道の駅なちへ戻った

温泉併設の道の駅のため、温泉にゆっくり浸かって身体を癒した後にテントを立てる

テントの中で明日の道のりを地図で調べながら、満天の星空をぼーっと眺めていると、気づいたら5日目の旅路は終わっていた。

走行距離 112キロ

三重県紀北町→和歌山県那智勝浦町

総走行距離 675キロ

今日も最後まで見ていただき、ありがとうございます。また下の日本一周自転車ボタンを押してくれると、ブログランキングが上がって嬉しかったりするかもです。

にほんブログ村 旅行ブログ 日本一周(自転車)へ


にほんブログ村

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