10 June 2014

Thinking back on this location during our trip, I feel like we spent more time here or at least more than the 36 hours or so. The white sand beaches, the clear blue waters, and the convenient location of everything (bath, camp site, and food), plus perfect temperature makes us yearn to return to this gorgeous location. Rejuvenating in such an amazing place as Shirahama was a wonder, this city sure wasn’t on our original list to visit, but it will be the next time.

Shirahama

I woke up earlier than Val today. She wasn’t all that motivated to wake up either, so I asked what she would like for breakfast. “Donuts and milk tea, please”, was the reply. Off I went to purchase breakfast from the local grocery store. Returning, I made Val get out of the hammocks for breakfast since the sun was making them like an oven. We both crashed after all of the sugar and Val even went back to sleep a little later after convincing a local business owner to charge her cell phone so she could text. He wouldn’t accept any money, but requested that we come back and pay to enter his rotenburo (open-air onsen).

After her nap and my writing, we picked up the phone and got in swim suits to go take the “covered in sand” photo that Val had been wanting. Once in the warmish ocean water…Val reconsidered full immersion, so we climbed back out and covered our legs with sand , took a quick photo, then went back into the water to rinse off a little before we went to the Shirasuna open air bath. Neither one of us really felt like going in, but figured we needed to fulfill our side of the bargain for getting the phone charged. Additionally, we could wash our swim suits to pack back up. After an appropriate amount of time in the hot water under the blazing sun at noon, we got out and went to go pack to head off to the beginning of the National Geographic hike.

Kii-Tanabe and Kumano Kodo

We headed to the information booth to get some maps and an idea for transportation. From Shirahama, we took the train to Kii-Tanabe, then got on a bus to Takijiri, the starting point for the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage. Takijiri is a 3 home town with a shrine, 1 shop, 3 vending machines and a tourist info/rest area. Very small, but livable for tonight. We found a spot on the walkway from the parking lot to the tourist center/bathrooms that looked like a decent (and only) spot for the nube and hammocks.

Once I climbed into the hammock, the whole thing pulled in and sagged. The Nube had become my blanket and possible suffocator! After some late night thinking, meaning our deductive skills were severely diminished, we figured the smaller tree we had hung one side of the hammocks from was dead and had caved in. We got back out and completely shifted the two lines hang points to different trees…and…sleep at last! Guess what time it is? 10pm? Nope, it’s 8:36. Moving the Nube and everything only took 10-15 minutes!! Good night!

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