Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A wise woman

A couple months ago I was all prepped and ready to climb Mt Fuji then due to one thing or another all of our plans to hike were cancelled {3 different times}.  I was starting to think that we just might not get around to doing it while we're here.  The mountain is only technically open until the end of August and our time was running out, so we picked a day and decided to make it happen, no excuses.  Sunday night we packed up some stuff and headed out toward the mountain.  We decided to camp near one of the five lakes {Lake Saiko} at the base of the mountain and get a very early start on our hike the next morning.







It was a perfect, relaxing night!  I only wish we had been able to sleep a little longer.  We were up and moving at 0330 and packed and on the road by 0400.  We drove about 45 minutes up the mountain to the 5th station where we began our hike.


I love this image of my husband and the very beginning of the trail

385 minutes = 6 hours 25 minutes

Getting started

This is just a small portion of the climb to the top

Finally above the clouds

Taking a break at one of the stations along the way.  I felt really good the whole way up so long as we took frequent short breaks.  If I went too long without taking a break {and by too long I mean more than about 10 minutes} I started to feel really tired and generally not well.  Thankfully, Jason was extremely patient with me.

My favorite part of the day, rock climbing!

Not looking forward to what lies ahead

Each of the huts along the path have stamps that they will burn into a hiking stick for you for a fee {200-300yen each}.  The whole reason I wanted to do the hike was to get the stick with all the stamps!  I will cherish that thing for as long as I live!

Some of the terrain...it varied drastically from area to area

Above 10,000 ft

Hikers

So close to the top...yet so far away!

Still feeling really good at this point!

Last torii before the summit!
AT THE TOP!

In front of the crater of Mt Fuji
We spent about an hour at the top resting and enjoying the view.  We ate some ramen and had a coke and a beer then began the journey back down.
This part was significantly less fun that the trip to the top.  About 20 minutes into these never ending  dirt/gravel switchbacks, my left knee was killing me.  I seriously considered sitting on my rear and attempting to scoot myself to the bottom because the pain was excruciating with ever step!
The amount of dirt that was kicked up as we were going down was crazy so we suited up in our bandit gear for the trek!

It was a brutal 3 hours of painful slipping and sliding back to the bottom,
but we made it!
It took us 10 hours total; 6 hours up, 1 hour at the top, and 3 hours back down.  I am not in great {or even good} cardiovascular shape, I cannot run one mile without stopping, but I didn't have any problems completing the march up the mountain.  We went very slowly and stopped frequently and that worked for us.  The walk down was much more physically challenging for me.  The pressure on my knees and the unstable ground was an awful combination for me.  I had made a reservation at our outdoor recreation office to rent trekking poles but I forgot to pick them up before we left.  I think they would have helped me significantly on the way down.
Overall we had a great experience.  The weather was perfect {a bit too prefect, I have the first official sunburn of my life and awful tan/burn lines to prove it} and we both made it up and back uninjured.  I had prepared myself for the worst and found it to be better than my expectations.  My husband thought it wouldn't be too bad and he was more miserable than I was.  I'm glad we did it but it is definitely something I never want to do again.  
There is a popular saying in Japan, "A wise man climbs Fuji once, only a fool will climb it twice", and I now fully understand it's meaning.

~A wise woman

5 comments:

Lindsey said...

At least you can cross that off your list! I'm sure you both felt very accomplished when you made it to the bottom.

Marcella{The Life of a Military Family} said...

Great job!! Your pictures were great and I'll just pretend I climbed it through you! ;)

Jelena Simic said...

Your blog is like a travel guide to me! Love your posts!

Poe Kitten said...

I think it would take me at least 6 hours, if not more, to make it to the top. I'd have to stop and rest a lot too. And I'd want another way back down as I hate climbing down mountains! What a great memory though:)

Thanks for linking up with us at Flashback Friday.

Mrs McDancer said...

Such an amazing adventure! I still have the postcard of Fujisan that you sent me in the exchange :-)