日本一の原野と日本一立ち上がれない男たち(徒歩日本縦断#2)

昨夜はタクマにはじめてのライダーハウスを経験してもらった

ライダーハウスみどり湯

見ず知らずの他人が「旅人」という共通点でのみ出会い、共に乾杯に肩を組んで歌う。

もはや北海道の文化とも言えるこの空間はタクマも大いに気に入ったらしく、初日の疲れも忘れて日が変わる頃まで飲み続けた。

そんな熱い夜を過ごして、今日はいよいよ徒歩で40キロ進む。

なぜいきなり無理をして40キロも進むかというと、これからの道のりが「サロベツ原野」という、原野が広がる70キロもの道のりで、野宿をできるような休憩所が40キロ先に一箇所しかないのだ。

その休憩所もほぼ原野みたいなものだが、ここ以外で寝たら熊のエサかキツネの遊び相手にしかならないと分かっていたから、今日は無理をしてでも40キロ進む。

昨日の足の疲れ自体は5時間ほど寝てとれたが、いかんせん足の裏が痛い。それでも前に進まないといけないので、万全ではないものの午前7時には歩き始めた。

今日のみちのり

稚内市街を30分ほど歩いて抜けてからはひたすら原野の道だ

気持ちいいくらいに何もない。

朝の痛かった足の裏も歩き始めると調子が良くなるもので、景色の良さと朝の元気にも助けられて2人とも順調に進んでいく

スタートから2時間半で12キロほど歩き、今日唯一の集落抜海で休憩

抜海では昨夜同じライダーハウスに泊まっていたおばあさんに道中出会い、1000円札とキャラメルを握らせてくれたので、好意に甘えて受け取ったキャラメルを食べて糖分補給しながら足のマッサージをした

この時はまだ足も元気だったが、それでもやはり初日の疲労も抜けきってない2日目の行軍で、少しずつ足にガタが来始めていた。

一歩踏み出すたびに少し痛む右足を入念にマッサージしながら、いよいよサロベツ原野のど真ん中に突っ込んでいく

ここから30キロ弱は日陰も休憩場所もほぼ無い。絶景の原野は時として自然の脅威として人間に襲いかかる。

原野を飛び交う数十匹のアブ達に囲まれ、振り払いながらひたすら進むだけだ

そりゃアブも久しぶりの獲物だろう。

歩いている人間なんて絶好の獲物だ

それでも簡単に血を吸われるわけにはいかない。人にも人なりのプライドというものがある(今日だけで5箇所以上刺された…完全に負けてる笑)

アブとの死闘を繰り広げながら原野のど真ん中を歩き続ける

すれ違う人なんて1人もいない。

どこかで鳴く動物の声と波の音。

風の音に飛び交う虫達の羽音。

そして男2人の息遣い。

ここは人間社会ではなく、間違いなく大自然の中だった。

俺たちは大自然の中に迷い込んでしまった子羊以下のちっぽけな存在で、宇宙を感じさせるほどの地平線の先を目指して歩き続けた。

2年連続でサロベツ原野を旅したが、ここは間違いなく日本で1番宇宙に近い場所だろう。

電柱一つない道を進んでいると、まるで宇宙空間に放り投げられたような、ふわふわした不思議な感覚になるのだから間違いない。

人間はあくまで自然の中に生かしてもらっている動物だということを、この道を通ってはじめて知った。アブ1匹にも勝てないのが人間なんだからそう思うのも仕方ない。

「自然破壊がどうこう」とか口先だけお偉く言ってる政治家さんは是非この道を歩いてみてほしいところである。本当の自然を感じるから。

そんなことを感じながら歩き続けていたが、ろくに休憩もできない(止まったらアブに刺されまくるし)中で、25キロを歩き、過ぎたあたりから2人の身体が悲鳴をあげる。

足全体の疲労はもちろんだが、タクマはアキレス腱の違和感。そして横石は足の裏と腰回りの痛み…

それでも根性で歩き続けたが、遂に30キロを越えて2人の足が止まった。

アブに刺されるなんてどうでもいいほどの疲労と痛みで原野に寝転ぶ。

ストレッチも兼ねて寝転んだが、もちろん気休めにもならずにまた立ち上がって歩き出そうとする。

なのに立ち上がれない。気持ちとは裏腹に身体が立ち上がるのを拒否する。

休憩の後、立ち上がった足の痛みは半端じゃなくて、歩き続けて痛覚が麻痺した足の本当の痛みが一気に襲ってくる。

まともに立ち上がれないのが2人の本音だったけど、ここで夜を明かしたらそれこそ死ぬかもしれない。40キロも歩けないで、何が日本縦断だ。ここで立ち上がらなきゃ男じゃねぇ。

間違いなく、今日本で1番立ち上がることが出来ない男二人組だったが、立ち上がった。

ガタガタの足で前に進む

気づけば日暮れ間近

夕日に染まる絶景の一本道に気付いた時には目的地のすぐそばだった。

ほぼ無の状態になっていたからそれまで気づかなかったが、夕日の暖かさがこれほど身に染みる旅はきっとない。

そして目的地にたどり着く。

目的地で座り込んで、テントも立てられずにただぼんやりしているとライダーさんが1人来た

なんとかのライダーさんは同い年で、しかも友達の友達という奇跡の偶然だった

なんか反対になっちゃって直せないからスマホをぐるんと回してみてほしい笑笑

サロベツ原野に光る星の下で、火を囲みながら同い年の新しい友と語らいあって、夜は更けていった…

歩行距離 40キロ

北海道稚内市→豊富町

総歩行距離 75キロ

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