憧れを追いかけて(徒歩日本縦断#3)

3日目の今日はサロベツ原野のど真ん中の休憩所で起床。

多少クマへの恐怖はあったものの、サロベツ原野の中ということもあり、人1人来なくて熟睡出来た。

昨日の夜語り合ったケンタロウとも別れを告げてケンタロウは東へ、俺たちは南へと進み始める

そんな今日は天塩までの26キロを歩く

今日は初めから昨日40キロ歩いた足の蓄積した痛み、疲労と戦いながらの行進。

「そりゃ3日目だから身体も慣れてない。今は我慢の時だ」

そう言い聞かせながら歩く

歩いて10キロほどで見えてきたのは北緯45度のマーク。

ここが北半球のど真ん中らしい。

「いやここがど真ん中って、もっと北はどんだけ寒いの?!」と突っ込みたくなるほど、埼玉県民からすると北にある北海道の北緯45度線だったが、やはり歩いて北緯45度を超える達成感はあった。

そこからしばらく歩くと、前からなにやら歩いてくる人影が。

近づくたびにはっきりするその影は、真っ黒に日焼けをしていて、バックパックを背負っていて…

そう、この旅で初めて会う徒歩旅をしている大先輩だったのだ!!!

この人、岡田さんは本土最南端からもうすぐ宗谷岬へゴールする本当の大先輩!

原野の隅で話し込んでしまった

疲労のこと、風景のこと、歩き旅の良さ、辛さ、全部教わった。

この人、岡田さんは地元がすぐ隣町らしく、旅が終わってからの再会を約束して別れた

始まって3日目ですでに多くの人と再会を約束している。旅が終わる頃には果たして何人の友達が出来るのだろうか。ぜひいろんな人と乾杯したいものだ。その時は絶対にサックラで…

そしていよいよ見えてきたのは、横石が北海道で1番憧れてるといってもいい場所。オトンルイ風力発電所だ。

5キロにもわたって原野にひたすらそびえる風車群。その雄大さに憧れて自転車日本一周でも訪れていたこの場所

2018年の時

そして今年もその風景を忘れることはできずに、やってきた。

不思議なことに、今まで曇っていた天気はここにやってきた瞬間に晴れて、青空が広がった。

思えば自転車日本一周を初めた理由もこの景色だ。高校生の頃YouTubeでふと見た自転車旅行の動画で出てきたオトンルイ風力発電所のあの風景が忘れられずに、自転車旅に憧れて日本一周をしてしまった。

そして今度は徒歩で来たわけだ。

多分俺はこの風景をこれから何回も見に来るんだろう。その時は自転車かもバイクかも徒歩かも電車かもバスかも分からないけど、何歳になっても来るだろう。

そのくらいこの風景は横石にとって憧れであって追いかけ続けているんだから。

また来年も再来年もいつまでも青空であればいいなと思いながらオトンルイ風力発電所をあとにする。

お互いの足をストレッチしながら朝作ったパスタで昼飯を食べていると


またもや同年代のライダーさんと出会い

話し込んでしまった

本当に徒歩旅は進むのが遅い分、何人もの方に声をかけてもらえる。友達100人どころか1000人くらい出来そうだ。

年齢に関係なく語り合えるこの「旅」という環境がなによりも幸せだなぁと思いながら痛む足を運んで先に進む

でかい天塩川を渡れば

いよいよ天塩市街に入る

稚内市街から実に70キロぶりの街だ。

サロベツ原野で星を見て寝たのが嘘のように街に出た。

まるでポケモンの世界じゃないかぁ

マサラタウンを出て草むらを抜けて強くなって次の街に行く。

最後の街では俺らはどれだけ強くなっているんだろうか

そう思いながら、久しぶりの街の明かりに囲まれて新たに出会ったライダーさんと乾杯して夜を過ごそうと思う。

歩行距離 27キロ

北海道豊富町→天塩町

総歩行距離 102キロ

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