Fujisan

There was an earthquake this morning at around 4:30. Not a big one and probably wouldn’t have woken me up, not like some of the other ones we have had.

You know how I know about it? I installed this app that alerts you to coming earthquakes… the problem is… the alert comes to your phone and I swear to you its as loud an emergency PA system. Not to mention that it’s in Japanese. So to say I was startled, concerned, freaked out is quite the understatement. I saw my life flash before my eyes and panicked thinking I would die being so confused about everything because there was no English. Alas, hardly anything shook, it wasn’t a big deal and I have since disabled that feature but that didn’t stop me from being awake since 4:45.

Before heading to the outer fish market at Tsukiji this morning, I thought I’d share some about my Mt. Fuji hike last weekend.

We started the hike in the middle of the night at the 5th station (at about 7k feet) with the plans to climb to the summit (at 12+k feet) overnight. It’s quite the traditional route to leave in the evening and travel up the mountain to arrive at the summit at sunrise.

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It was the highest I had ever been before and it was breathtaking to say the least. Watching the sun slowly rise and then shine in all it’s glory was remarkable. What was equally remarkable was that we didn’t have a single drop of rain on the way up or back. Clear starry starry skies on the way up, and sunny blue skies on the way down.

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All in all, I think I was prepared for a hike that was going to be much harder than it turned out to be. Maybe that was because it was dark, maybe it was because I was just excited to be climbing Fuji, maybe it’s because you climb the mountain fairly slowly due to the altitude, or maybe I’m in better shape than I thought (doubt it).

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At the end, we were going to walk around the crater but decided it was cold, we hadn’t slept in nearly 24 hours, and it was best we just start our descent home.

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While I recommend you hike Mt. Fuji if you can and you do so at sunrise, I don’t think I’d ever recommend doing it twice. The descent is steep continuous switchbacks going down, down, down in thick lava rock gravel, that you can only imagine in your hiking nightmares. Oh my knees. They still ache just thinking about it. Actually, I think they still physically ache. But for this… I’d have achy knees any day.

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3 thoughts on “Fujisan

  1. So THAT’s why you called me this afternoon. To tell me about the earth quake before i read it on your blog! HA! And OH. MY. GOODNESS! Fujisan is so awesome and I SOOOO wish I could have done that with you! But I am sure my knees would still be aching too as mine are a good 30 years older than yours! HA! Great Photos Ally! What a privilege you have had this last three months to experience so much! Looking forward to picking you up at the aeropuerto! (OK so I don’t know what airport is in Japanese! ) See you soon!

  2. That’s an awesome silhouette shot! Couple of ?s if you don’t mind.

    Do they limit the number of daily (nightly) hikers? Did you have to pay a trail fee? Is there a guide or is it everyone for themselves? Any idea how many miles you hiked? Did you enjoy a Cup Noodle at the summit?

    I hiked Mount St. Helens last year and had the same knee issues on the way down because of the loose rocks. It was pouring down rain but luckily the lava rocks are porous and not very slippery. Glad you had ideal weather!

    Have a save trip home _ from your (work) trip of a lifetime!

    • Thanks! I took that picture at the last minute before heading down the mountain and it has become one of my favorites. May just have to go on the wall when I get home! 🙂

      From my knowledge, they don’t limit the number of hikers. And you don’t need a guide – the trails are very well marked – really there is only one way to go. We hiked the very first weekend of “official” climbing season and so got a head start on most the crowds. Although there were still quite a number of hikers and guided groups along the trail. During a popular holiday in August, Obon, you can be waiting in lines as you go up the mountain. There are nearly 250K people that climb it every year.

      There wasn’t a required fee but I think there was a place to donate because it’s a world heritage site. It was dark and all a little confusing when we headed to get the trail. No required permits or anything like that.

      Because we were there on the first weekend, the trail we went up – Yoshida trail – the most popular, was the only one open and the summit station is maintained by another trail that hadn’t opened yet, so sadly no cup noodles at the top. It was cold up there so that really would have been the ideal meal. I should clarify – my current mindset is that cup noodle is always the ideal meal!

      I can’t remember exact mileage but I think the way up way maybe 4.5 or so miles and the way down was a little longer – I’d say probably a total of about 9-10 miles. I read some sites that said it was only 3.7 miles to the top but signage on the mt. indicated differently. I was anticipating it would be a lot more difficult than it was. There were times when I wanted to move a little quicker up the mt. but knew that’s when the altitude would catch up to me so instead just made sure to take it slow with nice deep breaths. 🙂

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