The Road to Mount Fuji: Day 3

After hours of being unable to sleep, I finally fell asleep in my tiny sleeping place.  However, this didn’t last very long as random flashlights turning on and murmuring woke me up.  It was already time to head out if we wanted to catch the sunrise.  It was only 1:45 AM.  Sunrise would come around 4:30 so we had to be at the top by then.

I sluggishly got up and ate the mediocre breakfast the place provided us.  After finishing it and slowly getting dressed, we left to climb the rest of the mountain.  This time around  I was dressed for winter:  jacket, gloves, hat, long johns, the works.  You could hear the howling wind from inside, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

And I was right.  It was really windy outside.  We had to pause each time we felt the wind coming.  Continuing to hike up the rocky trail would’ve risked us losing our balance.  Once again we were faced with a rocky trail similar to the one we encountered on the 7th station trail.  This time however, it was dark, cold, and windy.  Having a flashlight/head light was essential to know where you were going.

For the final part of this hike uphill, there were a lot of people with us.  We were basically in queue to climb the mountain but I didn’t mind at all.  I don’t know how I would’ve felt if it was just a few of us hiking the rest in the dark.  We all had a single objective and I just felt this aura of willpower to finish the climb.  We had a few close calls but after a couple of hours of rough hiking in the cold, we were finally at the summit.

It was freezing when we got to the top.  It felt like winter and it was the middle of July!  People were trying to walk around to warm up.  I was getting really cold and before I thought I was going to lose it, a little stand opened up.  The people welcomed everyone into their warm establishment and started taking drink orders from people.  It felt great to drink a hot cup of cocoa after the final stretch.  I was still freezing though.  As it got lighter outside, it was starting to hit me that we probably weren’t going to see the sunrise.  It was extremely foggy and visibility was crap.  I was right, the sun never welcomed us from the top.  I was a little disappointed.  Still, it felt amazing to have been able to climb such a beast of a mountain, even if the difficulty isn’t that bad according to most seasoned hikers.

We did it!

We did it!

Zero visibility. :(

Zero visibility. 😦

As soon as we figured out we weren’t going to see the sun, we decided to head back down.  The route we took to go down was a lot easier than on the way up.  The only thing that was difficult was the angle of the descent; you were basically catching yourself from falling backwards the entire way down.  This kills your knees after awhile.  Still, it’s better than a rocky trail.  I finally got a beautiful view of the land below us not too long after our descent.  I can’t describe how beautiful it was so I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.

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The descent only took a mere three hours to get to the 5th station.  I think we both just wanted to get out of that mountain ASAP.  I later found out my friend threw up at the top and wasn’t feeling great at all.  I didn’t really feel anything and I’d like to think it was because of all the water I was drinking on the way up.  My friend drank next to nothing and was feeling like shit.  So my advice:  Take lots of break and drink lots of water!

And so concludes my trek to the top of Mt. Fuji.  There’s a famous saying about Mt Fuji that goes something like this: A wise man climbs Fuji once, but only a fool does it twice. I wholeheartedly agree, despite not seeing the famous sunrise, I can’t imagine climbing it ever again.  One time was good enough. 😛

Thanks for everything, trusty walking stick.

Thanks for everything, trusty walking stick.

Finally I could relax!  Except I couldn’t.  My teacher trip to Toyama was the very next day!  More on that another time.

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