After my fishing friends and I spent 4 hours driving and 5 hours walking to get to a white spotted char’s heaven in Shizuoka prefecture at the end of April, I realized how fun it was to get to such a place. So I planned to go to a similar secluded river in Tanzawa by myself.
On May 3rd, I arrived at a parking lot near the hiking path where I spent 2.5 hours to hike up. At the end of the path, there was a lodge behind which you could enter the river that I planned to fish.
What I didn’t know was that before entering the river, the path continued a little more so you could enter the river just upstream of a small dam. I entered the river just downstream of the dam, so I had to find a way to detour around it.
I started climbing a cliff on the left side of the dam. Although there were dangerous times when I almost fell, I successfully climbed up. Then I had to climb down. After I climbed down a half way through, a rock collapsed when I stepped on it with my right foot. I fell 2-3 meters down and sprained my right ankle. (I later found out at the hospital that I had broken the bone.)
Yes, breaking the bone was extremely painful for 5 seconds. But, I became too busy to feel the pain. I started thinking about how I could get out of there alive. I had to think about:
1. There’s no one around. How do I let someone know that I need help.
2. If in case I cannot contact anyone, I am confident that my fishing friends will start wondering why I’m not back from a 2 day trip after 3 days. So, how can I survive 3-4 days before my fishing friends contact police and rescue team can find me.
So I quickly took my cell phone from my bag, and confirmed there was no reception. I cannot directly contact police to ask for help. Then I took the whistle and started blowing. For a while, I blew the whistle, but I could not get any response.
So, I had to think about how I would survive for the next 3-4 days. Immediately, the following thoughts came to my mind.
– Drinking water: I have a water purifier. The river is 200 meters away. Need to crawl, but check.
– Food: Got 2 days worth of food in the bag. If I eat them a little by little, I can survive for 3-4 days. Check.
– Wormth: It’s only about 1,000 meters in altitude. It won’t rain for a while. I have a sleeping bag and a water-proof sleeping bag cover. Check, I’ll be okay.
So, if everything went well, I knew I would survive this disaster. I started crawling, and I also blew whistles and yell “Somebody! Help!” while taking a break from crawling. I was surprised at the volume of my own voice. I learned that when the volume of one’s voice would decide life/death of his/hers, it could become quite loud.
After crawling for a while to get to the river, I started hearing some voice. The whistle and yelling saved my life.
The people from the lodge came and found me. They contacted police and the rescue team for me. A police officer came about 1 hour later, and put a harness on me. After the rescue team of about 10 men arrived, they tied ropes to the officer and my harness so neither of us would fall while the officer would carry me on his back.
After escaping from the river and the river bank, I got on the rescue team’s car to go back to the parking lot where an ambulance was waiting for me. After arriving at the hospital, they took an X-Ray of my ankle. I thought I only sprained it, but the X-ray revealed that the bone was broken.
The moral of the story:
1. Don’t go fishing alone.
2. Don’t try climbing up/down cliffs that are beyond your climbing skills
The surgery has been confirmed to happen on May 16th. I will not be able to walk for 1.5 months, and then because of iron plates and bolts, I will not be able to go river fishing / climbing for 6 months. I will probably focus on fishing bass in the next 6 months.