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We Kicked Some Mt. Fuji Ass

Hakone Travel Blog

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Hey Dudes,
 
Holy Schmoley, we totally kicked Mt. Fuji's butt!  So here goes:

First we had to take a bus ALL NIGHT to get there and we were supposed to
sleep on the bus.  Yeah right! I slept for about a half hour the whole right.
So then we arrive and eat breakfast.  Of course this is Japan so we get fish
heads and rice for breakfast. (Not really, but pretty close to it.) Then we
start climbing.  We had no idea what we were getting in to because there
were only about 5 people on the trip besides us who were under 60 years old. 
So we thought it would be cake because all these old people were going up
there.  I later figured out that those old people went to the top of Mt. Fuji
to die.  I think they figured they ought to do the climb before they died,
or just die right there on the mountain.

So anyways, we started climbing and went halfway up the mountain.  That takes
between 2 and 5 hours depending how fast you go and we did it in 2 ( I know,
I'm a stud.)  Then you rest at this little hotel type thing until midnight
and keep climbing.  Let me tell you about this hotel.  They cram about 200
people in this little room where you sleep on the floor. The only way everybody
fits is if they sleep head to toe.  There's people coming in and out the whole
time and people snoring and basically there is no way you can fall asleep.  So
that was Day 2 without any sleep for me.

We got up at 11:30 to beat the traffic to the top of the mountain (which was
fine because I wasn't asleep anyways).  It was completely pitch black on the way
up. I'd say it was about 7 or 8 miles to the top and only about 50 feet of that
was lit.  It was also about 30 degrees outside and there were 50 mph winds.  We
were climbing so fast just to stay warm because all I had on was a sweatshirt
and jeans and a bandana on my head.  I honestly thought I was going to die on
top of Mt. Fuji though.  If the cold air didn't kill me,I thought a gust of wind
would blow me off a cliff and I would never be found. So then all I could think
about is how mad my Dad would be at my Mom for taking me to Mt. Fuji and killing
me.  That's when I realized, it's not the hike that kills you, it's the
elements... next time I'm bringing my headlamp and some Vortex.

But we actually made it to the top alright...3 hours too early.  So we're at the
top and none of the shops are open because we were so early, and it's still pitch
 black and freezing and windy.  So we're looking around for any kind of shelter
from the wind at least and we found this room that had a generator in it.  The
generator was giving off some heat and the room protected us from the wind so we
thought we were good to go.  Oh no. It turns out that this generator is burning
gas and there are fumes consuming the room.  So we have to leave to door open so
that we don't die of asphyxiation and so the wind and cold come into the room. 
All I wanted to do was sleep, but I was afraid that every breath I took would be
my last because the air was so thin and half of what I was breathing was gas fumes.
Of course just sitting there doing nothing, I fell asleep, and when I woke up I
didn't know where I was and I just started freaking out.  I realized everything
was okay and saw that outside people were showing up and the shops were open. 
I bought a bowl of ramen noodles for about seven dollars (a bargain at twice the
price for the state I was in) to warm up and me and we watched the sunrise.

That was the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life.  It totally made the hell
of climbing up and my several near death experiences totally worth it. We had to
climb down after that which wasn't too bad. It took about 2 hours, but it killed
my knees.  I've got my stick, which ended up costing about 40 dollars because you
have to pay to get it stamped at all the stations on the way up, but it was worth
it.  Maybe I'll let you touch it if you're lucky.

After the climb we went to a traditional Japanese hotel/resort in Nagano. All I
wanted to do was take a shower and go to sleep, but when we got into our room, there
 were no beds and no shower.  The beds, apparently were roll out mats, that were
suprisingly comfortable.  And the shower was at the end of the hall where all the
 women showered together.  Holy crap!! I was so not down for that.  Of course my
mother gets a big kick out of that and doesn't care who sees her naked so she jumps
right in.  I was not all about that though because I don't let anybody see me naked. 
I wanted to go in with my bathing suit though, because it was really cool. It looked
like somebody's really cool backyard with a cool pool and hot tub and stuff and it
was inside and outside.  I had to wait around for about a half hour for it to be
empty so I could take pictures of it.  I'll show you guys the pics when I get back,
they're pretty cool. One of the guys on our trip had a shower in his room though
so I used his, thank God. I was covered head to toe in dirt.

Then we went to a traditional Japanese dinner where we wore robes and drank a ton of
sake.  One of the Americans with us said, "Were else in the world can you sit in your
underwear and get drunk with a big group of strangers?"  Pretty much sums up our dinner
and it was the most fantastic experience. It was really delicious and we ate a ton
of food and got hammered. Kampai!

So that was my Mt. Fuji story.  Pretty crazy, huh?  I'm going to Osaka this
weekend and hopefully I'll have some less death-defying tales to tell you.  No
insane hiking this weekend, just more drinking and site-seeing.

Love you guys, glad to be alive, talk to you later...

Kathleen
travelman727 says:
Great blog! Your comments about surviving Mt. Fuji and the communal showers and baths bring back memories and make me grin :-)
Posted on: Nov 13, 2007
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