Climbing Mt Fuji
Kawaguchiko Travel Blog› entry 7 of 13 › view all entries
I had an extra 3-4 days i had not planned to have ... thinking my trip was only going to be for 4 weeks...so on a whim i decided to climb Mt Fuji. I hopped onto a bus from Shinjuku in the morning and a few hours latter, i realized that i had only brought Teva sandals as i hit the forest trail leading from the 5th station of Fuji. The first station starts at the very base of the mountain, at the Sengen Shrine, although most people, as i did, start from the 5th station, which looks a lot like a small sky village. 5th station is where most tourists come when visiting Fujisan for the day, with no intentions of climbing.
No journal entry for today, as i was too busy having a heart attack every 5 minutes. The entire assent is switch backs from the 5th station onward. I ended up walking up a "switch," having a heart attack, then walking up the "back," having a heart attack. Rinse, repeat.
Luckily i ran into a group of 8 people, 5 of whom were also from the Bay Area (the world gets VERY small as you venture outward), and they incorporated me into their ranks. My position in the group was the anchor hahaha. Hand in hand, arm in arm, and 12770 feet later ... we hit the top.
The entire face of Mt Fuji is lined by small huts offering tea, rest, and other amenities for climbers as they go up. Today, on July 3rd, we stayed at a rest hut along the 9.5th station area.
It is said that it is the duty of every Japanese person to see the sun rise over the summit of Mt Fuji once before they die. As is all things in life, most people wait until the last minute. The entire route is littered with people of all ages, young and old, fulfilling their duty to "emperor and country." The elderly are not to be underestimated. On my way down, i ran into a 67 year old woman, who was on her way up. By the time i hit the halfway mark coming down, she came down and lapped me. I went 100 feet at a time, resting for a few minutes each time, but the older crowd would trudge up at a slow and steady pace, passing me up every time i rested...their determination and patience are pretty scary.