2010 04 22 - Mount Fuji day 3

Mount Fuji Travel Blog

 › entry 30 of 41 › view all entries
A few hours after setting up my tent something that I hadn't taken into account happened. It started to rain HARD. The cold and snow hadn't bothered me and the hiking and lack of food weren't a problem either. But this rain was so intense that it starting getting into my inner tent. I was lucky enough to be on a slight slope, but hadn't been able to secure my tent on the lower side. A layer of water was starting to build up and was soaking my raincoat (oh irony). I was hoping I would stay dry untill it would stop raining, but a few hours later I had several centimeters of water in my tent and it was starting to reach the airmatras and sleepingbag. I had to pack everything as quickly as I could, carry the tent in 2 plastic bags and get off the mountain before I started freezing.

I was walking down the mountain as quickly as I could but I was already completely soaked and still had hours to go. Carrying the tent + loads of water in 2 plastic bags that I had to carry in my hands wasn't fun either. After 30 minutes I saw a tourbus go up, but it didn't stop. 2 hours after I started walking down I really felt bad, both mentally and physically. Fortunatelly the tourbus was coming down and stopped for me this time. I was allowed to get into the dry, warm bus and after a few minutes I explained my ordeal to all the tourists through the microphone. Quickly after that a plastic bag for food was passed around and I ended up with a bag full of cookies and KitKat's. After eating 6 of those I was starting to feel better and 30 minutes later we were down at the Mount Fuji Visitor Center were I stayed for a few hours to get dry and warm. I had 2 full size dinners for lunch and felt good again, but disappointed about not reaching the summit. It was only then that I found out that Mount Fuji only opens from Juli 1 to end of August after most of the snow is gone and the temperature has gone up significantly. If only they had put that on the sign. It never stopped raining that day and all that time I hadn't even seen the top of Mount Fuji.

Lessons learned: Don't be stubborn (will be hard for me), research before going up a real mountain, bring plenty of food and water, don't get lost (aka no climbing in the dark) and bring a phone for emergencies. Put the phone on offline mode though, because with limited reception all the time the battery will be drained within 1 hour.
After a few hours in the visiting center, eating a dozen KitKat's and 2 lunches I felt less wet and cold and had realised that getting back up to Mount Fuji wouldn't happen. The rain wasn't going to stop and I didn't even think about sleeping in my tent. I figured it was time to go to Tokyo. A quick search on HostelWorld.com showed the Asakusa Smile as a cheap and centrally located hostel so I made a reservation that asked me at what time I would arrive. "18:00" was my answer and I started my walk to the highway-entrance. It took a long time before i got a ride. Apparently looking cold and wet makes potential drivers think twice about taking me with them. But eventually a 32 year old truckdriver (married with a kid) picked me up and dropped me off 3/4 of the way to Tokyo at an ETC (toll-gate) station. As soon as the truckdriver left the police came walking at me and told me I couldn't be there. Armed with my knowledge from the Tenri-police I explained the rules to them, but they told me to take a hike and start hitchhiking 1 km further on the freeway. I walked there, quickly got a ride in a mini-truck that took me back on the highway, passing the police and brought me all the way to the front door of the hostel in Tokyo where I arrived at 18:09. I gave my (free) welcome drink to the 24 year old painter that had driven me all the way through the Tokyo trafficjam while I had been "enjoying" the smell of no less than 7 airfresheners.

In the hostel I met a Dutch Guy and we went out to get a Soba-dinner. I thought it was the "soup+noodles+topping" that I had had before and ordered my "Soba" with Udon-noodles. Just so nobody will make this mistake: Soba is a type of noodles that can be served in every possible way! After spending a few days alone on a mountain it was great to meet other people again and speaking Dutch for the first time in a month was very welcome.

Back in the hostel I took a hot shower for a long time and hang out my clothes to dry. Then I got online and told everyone I was ok and had made it to Tokyo. With the help of Google maps I created a great (but slow loading) link that showed the route I had taken through Japan so far. I was planning on staying in Tokyo for a few days, finally get my Visa for China and then finish my Japan-adventure by going to Hokkaido. I think it was around 5 in the morning when I went to bed
camillanielsson says:
You are crazy :) so happy you didn´t tell me this when we talked on the phone cause that would have made me worrie :( and yes you will have a problem whit the beeing syubborn part :) but sounds like a experiens that was good for your trip from now on :)
Posted on: May 06, 2010
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Mount Fuji
photo by: Lotus28