This was the third time I’ve hiked this trail. In July 2019 Sampukutoge was the goal but then I was unaware that an additional 40 minutes southwest to Eboshidake would, on a clear day, present me with a clear view of Mt. Fuji.
This stretch was a mixed bag of wonderful Nakasendō/Kiso-ji (中山道・木曽路) backroads and the monstrous national R19, with truck after truck whizzing past.
We didn’t make it all the way to Takadoyasan (高鳥屋山) – I was carrying 11 kilos of daughter on my back and I’d never hiked this trail before. Logic dictated that we take it easy and stay well within our limits.
Ashihama remains wild and isolated. You can hear the deer, see the eagles soaring above, and see telltale signs of wild boar everywhere. If Chubu Electric had had their way then it would be the site of a nuclear power plant today.
Saturday was a washout with heavy rain all day but that made for a lush forest with a gushing, overflowing tiny stream running down through it on Sunday. Slippy and treacherous rocks, yes, but if you take it slowly and look where you’re going you have little to worry about.
This was one of the quieter stretches of the Nakasendo/Kiso-ji so far — a ‘get it done’ section. In autumn last year I walked from Kiso Fukushima to Agematsu, and by reaching Kiso Fukushima this time have now walked from Shiojiri to Agematsu.