28 August 2008

One Night on Mt. Fuji

I was walking on Mt. Fuji one day...

Okay, wait a minute. Change that first sentence to "climbing miles of rock, straight up, in the rain, in the freezing cold, in the dark" - and then add that all of this was just to see the sunrise from the summit of Mt. Fuji.

My husband has been planning this trip for months and I was never really fully "on board". Climbing Mt. Fuji, after all, is a tad outside my comfort zone and just doesn't sound like that much fun.

Nevertheless, I went, I climbed, I froze, I endured, and I survived - rather sore and barely able to walk, talk, or think straight for the first couple of days - but I did it. We both did.

So now we look at these pictures and groan together. (It's a strange way to bond, I know.)

Before the ordeal...around 12:30 pm on Monday, August 25, 2008. We went to the Sengen Shrine - the gateway to the mountain itself - to start getting good vibes.

It begins. 5:08 pm, 25 August

Two Hours Later: wet, cold, tired. Taking a brief break at one of the
many mountain huts on Fuji-san. 7:32 pm

How dark was it? This was taken at about 4:24 a.m. Those bright dots are headlamps. That's about all you could see. Earlier, when we were rock climbing, all we could see were the rocks right in front of our faces. The sky was so overcast and wet that no moonlight shone through at all. At around 11 p.m., we found room at one of the huts and slept for about three and a half hours. Just enough to get us to the top in time for sunrise.

The Sun. Almost at the top of Fuji, the sun begins to wake up. 4:43 am

We made it! Just as the sun pops over the horizon, we're standing in front of the final station's Torii gate. 5:21 am

Rainbow at the End. We were so tired and just relieved that it was over. We walked around the compound on top of the mountain in sort of a daze but my husband was lucky enough to get this shot... 5:31 a.m.

That's about it for now. It's three days later and we're still tired, sore, and recovering. Take it from me - it's a hard hike. Seriously.

~ j


Bec said...

We did Fuji last year and I was terrified! I know exactly what you mean about looking at the pictures and groaning...I keep thinking "one day I'll look back on this fondly" but it hasn't happened yet. I'm not sure it ever will. We did it in the daylight... I can't imagine climbing up that thing in the dark!

jennyspouse.com said...

Thank you! I was terrified out of my mind! I was shaking and breathing like I was getting ready to have a heart attack. One of our friends said "Yoga breaths" but I couldn't even do that. I hated every second of it. It was dark, wet, slippery, scary, and hard.

I don't know if I'll ever look back on it as a good experience. My husband didn't like it too much, either. He said "Don't worry, honey, we're never going to do anything like that again!" :-)

That's why I love him. haha

My brother is a climber determined to climb the highest peak on each of the seven continents. He's been doing this stuff for years. Fuji was my first and last.

Sorry but I'll just wait for him on the beach! haha

Island Girl said...

Too funny! Thanks for sharing your story! I climbed it for my 40th birthday this last summer and was soo confused by the stations that when i was at the top getting my markings burned into my stick i asked how many more stations there were!! I had NO idea i was at the top!! I just figured all the stuff for sale and stuff was because this is where most people stop climbing! LOL!