I first met him on the way back from No.36 Seiryuu-ji. We stayed at the same hotel Kobushi-no-sato yesterday, and even today at Lodge Camellia. Moreover, he has a similar plan as he is going to stay here two nights in a row and is planning to come back tomorrow after visiting No.38 Kongofuku-ji. What a coincidence !
This guy (he looks to be in his early 30s or so) walks at a pretty fast pace and walks long distance each day. According to him, for the past two years, he has been taking a week off in February each year to do Shikoku Henro pilgrimage. The first year, he finished at No.23 Yakuou-ji, and the second year at Seikei-ji. Then, the year, the third year, he’s hoping to reach at Uwajima. He chose Uwajima because it’s convenient to get back to his hometown (there’s a bus to Matsuyama Airport from Uwajima). He said he’s jealous that I was able to challenge to this Shikoku Henro pilgrimage on foot at one time.
He told me that the first time he did the pilgrimage, he hurt his foot at No.20 Kakurin-ji and No.21 Tairyu-ji, just like me, and had a hard time to continue. From this experience, he reduced his luggage a lot, weighing less than 7 kg in a very small backpack… wow!
Then I asked him about his sedge hat (Sugegasa). He answered to me that it was very useful, especially in a rainy day, like today. He bought the smallest one, and the hat comes with plastic cover to keep out the rain. It seems that a small one and proper rain gear will protect me from the rain and the sun without umbrella. Hmm, I should probably buy it.