« June 2010 | Main | February 2011 »

July 2010

07/05/2010

We climbed Mt. Fuji!

“A wise man climbs Mt Fuji once; only a fool does it twice”

(unknown)   

So here are the pictures of our climb.  We made it to the top, in time to see the sunrise and what a sight; though it was short lived.  The sun popped through a layer of clouds at about 10,000 feet (We were at 12,388 ft.) and then disappeared about 20 minutes later into another higher layer of clouds.  But it was worth it. 

 Diana9_070510

   The journey began late on Friday, July 2nd.  It was just the second day the mountain was officially opened to hikers.  We set off separately.  My husband and daughter weren’t sure how long it would take them, so they went ahead starting at 5 p.m..  My son and I followed about an hour later, and caught up with them at the 6th station.  The hike begins at what’s called the 5th station, which is not much more than a giant bus stop with lots of restaurants and stores selling Fuji souvenirs.  Seventy percent of tourists who travel to the 5th station never go any higher. 

   

The path to the summit takes you up a series of switchback trails to the sixth station and then a rocky trail to the seventh and eighth stations and then the summit.  By 8 p.m. it was dark and headlamps and a flashlight guided us up the path.  At this point we were scrambling over rocks.  We planned to sleep at a hut at the 8th station and arrived there at 9:30 pretty pooped.  

  

 Sleeping in a hut is like going to a “not so nice” sleep-away camp.  Everyone sleeps communally under quilts in bi-level bunks. The huts are privately owned and some have been in the same family for generations.  It appears to be lucrative business.  For just a few hours sleep we paid 6500 yen…that’s about 65-70 dollars per person.

     

 Diana8_070510

We were in a room with about 20 other people, and managed to get a few hours sleep.  My husband left at 1am to get a head start, the rest of us took off at about 2:30.  We shuffled our way to the top with dozens of others along the path-headlamps twinkling.  And by 4:30 we reached the top….just in time to see the sunrise…cheering at the sight along with  about 200 other hikers.  Take a look at the photos.  Glad we did it…but as the saying goes, once is enough.

Diana3_070510