Aug 14, 2006 – Mount Fuji

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Saturday Morning and it is pouring rain and thundering and lightening in Matsudo City! Hmmm, what to do? We woke up to absolutely miserable weather, but true to our Canadian nature, this did not deter the one chance that we had to climb Mount Fuji. All our Japanese friends could only say Good Luck to us.

So after getting some snacks we made our way to Tokyo where we then boarded a bus for 2 hours that would then take us to the 5th station of Mount Fuji. The fifth station is more than half way up the mountain.

Getting off the bus we felt the coolest wind and air ever. It was soooo great to be able to actually feel cold and put on some warmer clothes. After quick bite to eat we began our ascent of Mount Fuji. We were all in good spirits and all the wishes of Good Luck from our Japanese Friends must have worked because the weather was gorgeous and the moon shone brightly.

There are about 120 million people in Japan and I’d estimate that we hiked up Mount Fuji with most of them! It was quite an experience, actually unbelievable. It was our aim to hike through the night so that we could watch the sunrise. Tor got really tired about 2/3 of the way up and had to take several cat naps on the flatest rocks he could find. The huts along the way are booked for tours so unless you are with a tour or what to pay $50 to sleep with hundreds of others , you choose a rock. At one point though he was so cold that Ger discovered that if you bought a small mug of hot chocolate for $5 you could sit inside a hut and get warmed up. We really never in our wildest dreams would thought that we would be that cold.

I went up ahead and arrived at the top at about 2:30 am , actually before the rush. So lucky me I did not have to wait in line to use the bathroom. In some places along the way the line and wait to use the washroom was about 20 to 30 minutes. Needless to say the smell in certains parts of the hike was quite pungent.I did not sleep one wink because I was way too wired and excited by the whole experience.

Ger and Tor made it to the top at about 4:30am. I was quite relieved to see them and sooo happy that they made it because I was worried that Tor might end up just simply being too tired. But he is quite the hiker guy and did not give up and weaved his way up the last part of the mountain with hundreds of others , just in time to watch the most beautiful sunrise ever.

Despite all the people joining us at the top of Mount Fuji, it was a magical moment as we sat huddled together watching the sun come up.

At the top we wandered around for a bit , took a boo at the crater and a picture of myself with arms raised at the gate and then began our descent at 6:00am. Before too long we were stripping clothes off again as the warmth of the sun was most definitly shining down on us. The way down was pretty challening and hard on the whole knees because it was all loose lava rock and it was very easy to slip and slide and fall down.

It took us 3 and half hours to make our way back to the fifth station.When we would look back up at all the people climing down,it looked like a ski hill on red rock. All the colorful ski jackets of all the people made it remind us of winter back home. Wild , just wild.

Man, were we tired at the bottom. Was it worth it? Absolutely, we were all pretty buzzed by the experience but as the Japanese saying goes, you must climb Mount Fuji once but only a fool would do it twice.