臆病だからこそ(徒歩日本横断#5)

5日目の今日は厚岸の道の駅で起床

道の駅の裏手にあるオーシャンビューの芝生で夜景を見ながら本当にゆっくり寝ることができた。人も来ないし、野宿適性大の道の駅だ。

そんな今日は朝から曇り空。濃霧注意報も出ていてぐずつく天気となりそうだが、36キロ先にある次の町釧路町の無料キャンプ場を目指して歩く。

最初の15キロは海沿いの道を歩きながら国道44号をのんびりと進む。

最近はスピードこそまだ全盛期には及ばないが、すっかりロングウォークはできるようになってきて、最初は15キロ。残りを10キロ10キロで分割して35キロを歩けるようになった。なかなか早い速度で身体が適応しているみたいだ

15キロをすぎて、最後のコンビニで買い出しがてら休憩を済ませるとそこからはひたすら山道へ

最初は150キロ以上あった釧路市街地が気づけば残り30キロとなり、少しずつでも進んできた距離を実感する。

そして完全に峠道となり

ここらへんから完全に濃霧が霧雨へと変わり、この旅初めてのレインウェアを着用。

思えばスタートの前はずっと雨予報だった道東だが、よく天気が持ってくれた。初日からレインウェアを着ることになると思っていたので、だいぶありがたいことを実感し先へ進む。

そして国道44号の峠を上りきったところで、今日目指すキャンプ場に行くために国道を外れて林道に逸れる。

そしてこの林道。車が一台も通らない寂しい林道が4キロ続くのだが、道中の至る所には今まで見なかった熊出没注意の看板。それに加えて濃霧で視界不良と不気味さと怖さでいうと今まで通ったどの道よりも不安で仕方がない。

どうしても一歩を踏み出せず、恐怖が勝ち、入り口で立ち竦む。本当に熊が出そうな雰囲気なのだ。

横石はやっていることの性格上「怖いもの知らず」というイメージがある人は多いと思うが、実はその真逆。誰よりも怖がりだし、誰よりも不安が強い。臆病者なのだ。

熊はもちろん、野生動物には畏怖をもっているし、野宿だって怖いと思わないで寝たことはない。

でも、だからこそ、ここまで5年間、危険とも言える旅を続けられたという自負はある。

臆病者だからこそ、誰よりも安全に気を使うし、北海道ならば熊情報は逐一調べる。「いざ熊に会ったときのためにどうすればいいか」という対処の勉強も含めて、熊に対する本だけで3冊は読んでいるし、天候やあらゆるアクシデントに対する勉強もしてきた。

野宿地だって、あらゆる下調べの上で厳選して場所を決めているし、いざ辿り着けなかったときのためのエスケープ地点までも頭に入れて日々旅をしている。

むしろ旅は無鉄砲な人がするべきではないとも思う。「僕どこでも寝れます」みたいな人はたまにいるけど、そういう武勇伝を聞くと正直腹が立つし、例えばそいつが誰かの迷惑になることも考えずに市街地ど真ん中で寝るだけで、その地域の人の旅人に対する目線は冷たくなるし、道の駅でワイワイはしゃぐだけでその道の駅は野宿禁止になったりするのだ。

こういうことをしているからには、もちろん死ぬ確率は他の人よりは数倍高いだろう。でもその数倍を1%でも減らす努力を怠るべきではないのが本来の旅人の姿なのだと思う。

だからこそ、この林道を通るかどうか、本当に迷って立ちすくんで、15分ほど悩んで覚悟を決めた。答えは「GO」

左手には四国お遍路の時から愛用している御加護のあるであろう鈴を。右手には爆音でお笑い番組を流して歩く。なぜお笑い番組なのかは、少しでも気を楽に保つためだ。

もちろん釧路町の熊情報を片っ端から調べて、ここ数ヶ月目撃情報がないことも頭に入っているし、先ほどの国道の山の中で鹿も目撃しているという様々な理由を加味してのGOだ。(鹿はなによりも臆病な生き物なので、熊が出るところにはあまり出ない)というのが通説なのだ。

それでもやはり歩いてみると嗚咽しそうなほど怖かった

霧は深いし、山も深い。

この緊張感が4キロも続くというと、正直耐えられるか分からなかったが、これこそ歩き旅の本当の意味での真価が問われていると思った。

正直この4キロは雨に濡れながら恐怖と戦うことしかできず、楽しむ余裕などなく、耳に入ってくるお笑いのコントの数々は今まで聞いたどのコントよりも味気なくつまらなかった。これなら一周回ってジブリミュージックでも流してるほうがマシだったかもしれない。

びしょ濡れになりながらやっとの思いで道道に出るが、そこもまた深い霧の中の山道。休憩する場所も余裕もあるわけがなく、ただひたすらキャンプ場を目指して進む。

やっとたどり着いたキトウシ野営場は無料だが、反面「野営場」なので、正直怖かった。

あくまでキャンプではなく、野営というスタイルなのだ。深い森のダートを超えなければ辿り着かないし、熊だって出るかもしれない。

「俺1人しかいなかったらどうしよう…」

そんな不安を抱きながら野営場に入ると

そこにはキャンパー達の楽園が広がっていた

早速出会った方々に声をかけられて、「雨で濡れた体をあっためてけー!」と焚き火にあたらせてもらい、そのままサッポロクラシックを頂く。

先ほどとのギャップが凄すぎて、安心感からか、すぐに一本を飲んでしまうと…

「兄ちゃん歩いてるなら栄養つけてけ!」

と一瞬で並べられる大量の海の幸とジンギスカン

牡蠣はバケツ二個分

丸々大きいホッキ貝にホタテも

全て「全部なくすまで帰らせないぞー」という具合にたらふく食べさせてもらった…

今横石の体の9割は北海道の海の幸で出来ていると言っても過言ではない。

気づけば3時過ぎから8時まで、あれよあれよと周りの人たちも集まり大宴会。

こちら専属シェフ
薪も自分たちで割るんだよ

あらゆるバックグラウンドの人たちの素敵な話を聞いて、死ぬほど美味しい海の幸を食べて、お酒も飲んで…

キトウシ野営場が大好きになったし、なにより旅っていうのは上手く出来てるなぁと改めて思う。苦しかった後には必ずそれを帳消しにするような風景や人との出会いがあるのだから。

横石は今、誰よりも旅の酸いも甘いも経験している気がした。いや、北海道の大自然をいろんな意味で身をもって体感している。

あれほど濃密な動物の気配があるほどの大自然だからこそ、恐怖もあればこういう贅沢も出来るのだと。改めて教わった旅の1日だった。

明日はいよいよ道東一の都市、釧路市街へ突入!!!!今の悩みは洗濯と充電などをどこで済ませるか、ただそれだけである。

歩行距離 36キロ

北海道 厚岸町→釧路町

総歩行距離 167キロ

今日もブログを読んでくださってありがとうございます!ブログランキングにも参加しているので、是非下の日本一周ボタンを押して応援してください!

にほんブログ村 旅行ブログ 日本一周へ


にほんブログ村

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