Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fuji-san

In two weeks, I will have hopefully hiked to the highest point of Japan.  This has been on my Japan bucket list for almost 2 years and now that it's finally about to happen, I'm kind of freaking out {what if I can't make it to the top?!?!}!  Even from afar, Mt Fuji, or Fuji-san as it is referred to in Japan, is intimidating!  I've hiked a bit in Colorado and in the Appalachian mountains but never attempted anything as high as Fuji-san at 12,389 ft.
photo courtesy of Wikipedia 

Due to the weather at the top of the mountain, it is only open to hikers during the months of July and August {you can climb during other times but it is not recommended}.  The mountain is broken down into 10 stations.  Most people take a bus or drive to the 5th station {the highest station you can get to by vehicle} where the elevation is about 7,500 feet and begin the climb there.  From that point it takes around 5-7 hours to hike the remaining 5,000 or so feet to the top, where the temperature can be up to 40 degrees cooler than it was at the 5th station.  The descent back to the 5th station can take anywhere from 3-5 hours.  We are going with a group of about 60 people from my husband's unit and are giving everyone 12 hours to complete the hike.

photo courtesy of Wikipedia 

I guess the thing I'm most worried about is gear.  The terrain varies greatly on the mountain from sand to large rocks and the weather is very unstable/unpredictable.  I'm confident in my boots, which are the most important thing in my opinion but after those, I'm unsure what else is actually a necessity!  I do not want to carry any unnecessary weight with me so I'm trying to decide what I can eliminate from my "packing list".  Trekking poles to save my knees?  Hiking gaiters to keep the rocks out of my shoes?  Gloves for when I must use my hands {it's pretty steep at some points} or in case I slip on the way down?  My beast of a DSLR for the breathtaking photographs {that thing is NOT light!}?

As I mentioned, I'm going with a group from my husband's unit.  We're taking 2 buses, leaving base at 0600 and not returning until about 2300.  We have decided to use some of our FRG funds to provide food and water for everyone going.  I've spent the last 2 days making a "menu", pricing items and placing special orders at the commissary to make sure they have everything I want the day I need it. Everyone is going to receive a "sack lunch" with a sandwich, an apple, a granola bar, a candy bar, trail mix and carrots.  We want to have food available for the bus ride home after the hike as well but I'm having a hard time coming up with something that we can keep on the bus all day and still be nutritious and refueling.

My goal for the day is to not be the very last person back on the bus.  So long as someone finishes slower than I do, I'll be happy.  I've already began hyper hydrating to try to prevent getting dehydrated on the mountain {praying for no altitude sickness}.  I wish I had spent more time at the gym the last few month but there's nothing I can do about that now...friends, wish me luck!

4 comments:

Kara said...

So jealous! Some friends of mine hiked it last year. They made it to the top and have the walking stick with all the stamps to prove it. They hiked up at night, hoping to see the sunrise when they got to the top. It was foggy once they got there and they couldn't see anything. I want to say it took them 8 hours to get up and 2-3 to get down. They said going down was worse than going up. Good luck!

Jenny D. said...

Jess this is so awesome!!! I can't wait to hear all about it.

Mrs. K said...

You are going to do great! That's always my goal in large groups, too- try not to be dead last. :) You're in great shape though- I don't think you'll have a problem.

JG said...

I. Am. In. Awe. That is so awesome. Can't wait to hear/read your victory post!