Jul 22, 2013

Cheerblasting Mt. Fuji

Saturday the 13th, I was up at 8am (after going to bed at 2am) to finish the last of my packing for Mt. Fuji!
Roomie and I headed off to meet up with Ash and Yuu and to go pick up our rental car.  After some more last minute shopping/food run we were off!

There are a couple different trails you can take up Mt. Fuji, and we decided on the Subashiri Route.  We parked our car at the parking they have near the base of the mountain and took the shuttle bus up to the 5th Station (五合目), which is where most people begin their hike.

Mowgli along for the ride, at the sign for the 5th Station!

Back when we were so full of life, so full of hope...
It was raining a bit for a good part of the first half of our hike.

Nice view, maybe an hour into the climb.

There are "ten" stations total along the trail.  I put ten in quotes because it's not really ten.  There's 6th Station (六合目), Original 6th Station (本六合目), New 6th Station (新六合目), etc...

At the "New 6th Station"
We stopped at each for a short rest.  We didn't want to climb too fast for fear of altitude sickness.

Mowgli at the 7th Station

"Original 8th Station"
There was no picture taken at the 9th Station, for the 9th Station wasn't even really a station at all, but merely a torii gate along the trail.  That, and I was too cold and tired and miserable to be bothered with pictures anymore.

Blurry night pic, but all those lights down below are flashlights/headlamps from other climbers

Blurry pic of sunrise

Panorama of the sunrise.  Almost to the summit (we were just past the 9th Station).

We made it!  Kind of dying...

And kind of crazy!
I told myself I would probably not ever do it again, but now that I'm not feeling like death on the mountain I kinda feel like I would do it again, since now I know what to expect and can plan better!
It took about 12 hours to reach the top, and about 6 hours back down.  The way down the Subashiri Route is mostly thick loose dirt and gravel.  They say you can run down this trail (須走 [Subashiri] actually means 須 "ought"; 走 "to run"), and while it seems a bit treacherous, at parts it's better just to do it.  You fall down and bruise your butt on rocks whether you walk or run anyway..
We finally reached the 5th Station and were greeted by other hikers and by the sales guy who sold us our walking sticks the day before (you purchase these wooden hiking sticks for 800 to 1000 yen, and can get them stamped/branded at each station along the way.  A neat souvenir, and they're actually pretty helpful during the climb.)  
We took the shuttle bus back to our car before heading to lunch, then to our onsen hotel.  The onsen felt amazing, and we relaxed in the hot baths and in our room before heading out to dinner that evening.
Roomie and Ash went to sleep at a semi-decent hour, but Yuu and I stayed up.  I think we were just past that point of feeling sleepy.  Finally went to bed around 2am Monday morning.  That was about 42 hours for me, on just 6 hours of sleep.
Then!  We all woke up around 8am to head to Fuji-Q.  Last time was a bit of a bust, if you remember, but this time we were able to ride aaaall of the major coasters, and finish it off with a crazy funner-than-expected water ride and a peep inside the Evangelion exhibit, before we had to head back to Tokyo to return our car.  

And that was our insane, sleepless Fuji-filled weekend.  Work last week was a bit hard to get through, what with the sunburned nose/scalp, muscle pain ALL OVER, and sleep deprivation.  But it was quite worth it!

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