14-Sep-2003 -- Day 2 on my three-day weekend, three confluence quest (see 43°N 145E° and 43°N 143°E for the other days), I had a sashimi donburi (rice bowl) in Kushiro's Washo fish market with Akiko and Mari and said goodbye to them as they had had enough of confluncing and were heading off to see friends. We had woken up to a bright, sunny morning which was a pleasant surprise. Only the night before the driving rain and winds of typhoon Maemi lashed out on our seaside town.
I took a bus to the small seaside town of Shiranuka, another casualty of the September 26th earthquake. When I arrived they were having a town festival with carnival games, children's knickknacks, and entertainment acts. I had no time to partake in the festivities as I had to get MY act together and get out to this confluence; it was already about 2:30 in the afternoon, and I still had a way to go. Fortunately, there was a 3:00 bus which could take me 7 kilometers up the inland highway in the direction of the confluence.
I got off the bus in a remote area which was partly farms and partly nature. There was a beautiful river in a broad river plain paralleling the highway. Fortunately there was a bridge across it and a newly paved but lightly traveled country road, neither of which were on my maps. It was a pleasant surprise because the road wound it's way in the direction of the confluence. If it hadn't, this may have been the most difficult, perhaps un-doable confluence of the three-day weekend. I had about 2 km to walk.
Finally, at about 800 meters from the confluence, it was obvious I would have to leave the road and wander into the forested hills. Right at that point there was a wide-open mowed-grass field whose purpose I do not know, but would have been great for playing football! I crossed the field and found a trail through the brush and crossing a small stream.
I made some misjudgments as to how far away the point was, and ended up climbing up and down through the forested rolling terrain. The sun had been getting low and there were long shadows and a golden sunshine. One notably spectacular part of the hike was climbing up through a dark, shadowed part of the forest and seeing bright sun rays penetrate the forest as I neared the crest of the hill. Once I emerged from the forest there was a grand view of many rolling hill tops in the gleaming sunlight. From this point it was all downhill for the last 150 meters to the confluence across old terraces, overgrown and containing some kind of no-longer-harvested citrus tree.
At the bottom of the hill I documented the point amidst swarms of annoying flies. Some notable things were that I saw a deer and I heard a very strange sound like the whooping of a monkey. However, there are no monkeys in Hokkaido, and my friends and students have yet to figure out what it might have been. Any ideas? I found a more direct route back along the mucky, swampy stream but without any hills. When I reached the main road at about 6 PM, it was already dark and there were no more buses into town. I had to walk the seemingly endless 7 km on the road back to Shiranuka.