Shikoku: The Journey Begins


It's a warm afternoon in Winnipeg. I take a break from packing and the endless details that need to be accomplished. Styxx and I are on our last walk before Gail and I depart on our next adventure, early next morning. We wander through the tall grass preserve sandwiched between a car dealership, hotel and a rail line. The grasses dwarf Styxx, who is reveling in the sweet aromas of their gold and blue stems.

Alas, we will be parting with Styxx for two months, but leaving him in the good hands of a coterie of neighbors and friends who will stay with him at our home and accompany him on a series of daily walks. Walks that he lives for.


Gail and I will be walking as well. Walking in Japan.

It's roughly two days later now. The subdued Winnipeg Prairies are far behind. Today we are in the craziness that is Tokyo. Ultra dense, ultra exotic, ultra strange Tokyo.

We're here for a one-day pit stop. Then we load onto a Shinkansen, or bullet train, and wind our way to the island of Shikoku. Once there, we leave planes and trains behind and begin our longest long-distance walk to date. For about fifty days we will be walking around 1,100 kilometers, following a 1,200 year old pilgrimage route around the island, visiting 88 Buddhist temples along the way.

Dear readers, steel yourselves for two months of blog posts following Gail and me as we attempt to complete this walking odyssey. I use the word 'attempt' advisably. We are seasoned walkers, to be sure. But this year's wrinkle could wreak havoc with our plans.

No more than a week before our departure from Winnipeg, a previous hamstring injury decides to rear itself again. Bad enough to cause this worried walker to visit a doctor at our local Pan-Am Sports Clinic, ironically a walk-in clinic. Mild, he says. Take plenty of Advil with you, he advises. That was two days before we leave Winnipeg. In the meantime, I take it easy, avoiding long walks and, sure enough the sharpish pain has subsided into a dullish one. Still there, but much better.

We can do this.


My Shikoku blog posts will likely be more frequent and more random than usual for Walkclickmake. If you click the Follow button on this page, you will receive automatic notification as soon as I publish a new post.




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