So now let me tell you of this amazing trip I took!
First of all, this was a trip I had been planning for months and preparing for for almost as long. I got the idea long before the trails opened for the season so I looked a bit but didn't get my hopes up. Then I began working out to get myself fit enough for a big climb. A while later I mentioned it t my friends, we talked about it and I wasn't 100% they all wanted to go, but I kept on planning. Eventually those who did want to go agreed that I could plan and I shared all the details and asked them to help me make some big decisions. We gradually chose what we thought would be the best date and plan and then it was just time to wait for the trails to open and our date to come around!
And then it was July 11th, 2015... I woke up late knowing I would be up all night and need all the energy I could muster. I had brunch, checked my bags, laced my shoes (okay, not really... I just slid into them but shhhhh), and hopped on a train to Shinjuku where I met my IHI counterparts to catch a bus to the Fuji Subaru 5th Station. This is the most used/well-known trail start for climbing Mt. Fuji. We made it to the station in time to catch beautiful pictures of the sunset, buy hiking sticks, meet our friend from Kyoto, and head off on our journey.
When climbing Mt. Fuji, you can be a professional hiker and bring your own compact hiking sticks OR you can be an awesome tourist and buy a wooden one at the 5th Station. Then, at each of the mountain huts along the way, you can pay to get your hiking stick branded. Of course, this is what we did. When I first read about this, it said the stamps were 200 yen, but for anyone going in the future be prepared for 300 or 400yen charges for each stamp. I didn't really care about this increase though... By the time we got to the top, we had over 20 stamps all up and around our hiking sticks. They are SUPER legit now. And it was really helpful to have it for climbing!
The trail we took is the most popular and the easiest to climb. That means that at the bottom, we didn't not pass too many people or see many others, but by the time we got to the 8th station we were in stop-and-go traffic up the mountain. This was due to all the people who stayed in the mountain huts at the 7th and 8th stations for a rest before climbing up to the very top for sunrise. This is very popular, but if you give yourself enough time and are reasonably fit I don’t think it is as necessary as many people say it is.
And then finally we made it to the top. It was cold and windy and still mostly dark. We were tired, sore, and exhausted but we did it! We scoped out a nice set of rocks to hang out on and watched in wonder as the sun rose over the clouds that we were towering over. It was gorgeous and these photographs don't even do it wonder. If you love nature and want to see a wonderful sunrise: climb a mountain. Just do it.
Remember how I said it was really cold at the top? Well that was before the sun rose. Actually, immediately after it came up we started feeling warm and within about 20 minutes the whole place started warming up. I didn't realize that was possible, but apparently it is! After climbing up to Kengamine, we came back to the huts at the top of Yoshida-guchi (the trail we hiked up) and found branding to prove we made it to the top, bought some omamori (good luck charms), and then began our hike back down.
Another tip for anyone climbing: the highway bus that goes to and from Fuji Subaru 5th station cannot be reserved AT the 5th station (but there is free wifi for you to reserve on your mobile devices if you want to wait until the last minute).
Well, it is Wednesday now and I didn't go to a festival I wanted to Monday night because I was FAR too tired-exhausted-sore. I am still feeling the strains in my muscles but the sunburn I got is subsiding and I'm starting to feel a little bit better... While it isn't fun being sore and tired, the experience was so great that it is totally worth it. Especially with how impressed everyone else is in the fact that we did it!
See you all later,