My concentration is completely focused on footfalls, specifically where my feet are landing among the cedar roots that form a natural staircase. I’m ascending Mount Tsurugi, on the Kii Peninsula, from the Takijiri-oji Shrine, on an 11-day trip thats covers the famous Kumano Kodo trail.
When I first set out on this pilgrimage, my goal was to escape the inescapable — a never-ending stream of U.S. political updates and urban clatter. The first Japanese emperor to hike the trail did so in the 11th century, after his retirement — possibly to seek absolution for his courtly life and imperial decisions.
I was invited by REI Adventures to hike the Kumano Kodo and Nakasendo trails with five other hikers, to experience this new trip. It’s part of their level-two offerings, which are designed for leisurely hikers — those who prefer no pre-trip calisthenics and like to conclude a few mellow hours on the trail with a soft bed and warm, multicourse meal.
Read more from source: Hiking the sacred Kumano Kodo route in Japan with a backpack and a “no Trump talk” pact