Friday, September 9, 2011

A True Tale of Typhoon Talas part2


I reach the temple about 10. Its taken me 4 hours to climb the 6 kilometers. About halfway from the gate to the main buildings the rain suddenly becomes heavier... its as if someone just gave a couple of turns on the faucet. What was very heavy rain is now torrential. Kakurinji looks to be a really pretty temple. Its unusual in that it was not destroyed by the local warlord and has never burned down. The rain is so heavy that all I can do is sneak around under the eaves of the buildings and take a few shots.


The area in front of the office where pilgrims get their stamps is under cover so that is where I settle to wait and see if the rain lets up enough to allow me to look around some more. Several car pilgrims come and go and the priest tells me that we are in the center of the path of the typhoon. He keeps telling me its dangerous, but offers no advice. The rain comes straight down.


After 2 hours it is obvious that the rain is not going to ease up, so I decide to head off. The next temple is also a mountaintop temple, on the next mountain over, and the map shows a rest hut for pilgrims in the valley between, so that where I head to wait out the storm.


The amount of rain coming down is pretty incredible. Every ten meters or so along the road going down water is pouring off the mountainside on to and then down the road. The water is above my ankles so its more like fording a river. At one point the footpath down the mountain crosses the road and I peer down it to see what its like and at first would have described it as a river, but it was actually white-water rapids. I decide to stick to the road. There is so many streams flooding into the road from the mountainside that it reminded me of flash-floods in the desert. One time I was out with my sheep only a mile away from home and we had a 20 minute monsoon. I could not get home for 12 hours as there were half a dozen rivers between me and home. Whereas the desert monsoons were as heavy as this typhoon rain, in the desert it rains for minutes or an hour at most.


It took about an hour and a half to get down the mountain to the little village of Oi. I found the shelter on the outskirts of the village, surrounded by empty houses. There may have been more to the village further down the road, but it was raining so heavily I was not going to explore.

The sheltetr was just like in a park, 4 pillars supporting a roof over a picnic table and benches. This one was pretty large, maybe 5 meters on the side, and there were half a dozen other chairs as well.

I decide this is where I will stay until the rain eases up. I take off my wet boots and put on my last set of dry clothes. Ive been wearing a poncho, but my sweat has drenched my clothes. Dry socks were a particularly good feeling. Other than the occasional gust of wind that brought in the rain to spray me, its fairly dry in the middle of the covered space. I have some jerky, some raisins, and a bottle of sports drink, so I settle in and do some reading. There is no traffic along the road, and the only noise is the sound of the incessant heavy rain hitting the ground and the roar of the swelling river a hundred meters or so behind me.

A few hours later night starts to fall, and then the weather took a turn for the worse.......


  1. Very interesting post. I experienced typhoon only in huge concret cities. The feeling must be very different there.

  2. That descent from Temple 20 is no joke. Couldn't imagine doing it in the rain...

  3. really enjoying this story, as well as the pictures...looking forward to the next installment...we got nothing up here in ishikawa from the typhoon

  4. Thanks for sharing this amazing story
    You're brave!
    Pictures are very beautiful

  5. Wow - quite an exciting trip. Thanks for the outstanding pictures.