Mt Fuji

WOW I finally did it. It was harder than I thought. There were seven of us (Glen Brown, Larik Hall, Des Thomas, Dimitri Lorenzon, Doug Hopkins, Jim DeGraw and me). We did get a guide that was useful because he paced us well, knew the way up and as with very other adventure in Japan spoke the language. Started at station 4 at 4:00 pm and took 3 1/2 hours to get to station 8. After a fast start from 4 to 7, ctation 7 to 8 was the tougher climb and my lack of training showed. Spent the night at Station 8 sleeping in the five star accomodations. After an exquisite meal of curry rice and some pleasent conversation with the chef who I think wanted us to hurry up wen hit the sack. Basically the accomodations were two levels of wooden shelves. We did get sleeping bags. The hosts were kinder to us and separated the gaijin from the rest of the guests which gave us a little more room and gave the other guests some peace and quiet.

We were up at 2 am and went from 8 to the top. The summit (3,776 m; 12,388 feet; 2.34 miles) had been closed for the last couple of days because of wind but had just been opened up. The second half was not too bad. The path is beteer defined as you get up to the top but a lot more crowded. We saw the sunrise from station 10. Pretty amazing to watch it come though the clouds and you are looking down on the sun. The summit was impressive but cold and windy. We had to catch ourselves a couple of time with the wind gusts.

The way down took us 3 1/2 hours down a trail of gritty red and black volcanic rock. The volcanic dust gets everywhere. The trip down is deceptive because you think you are done and it is all "downhill" from here. But it is hard bracing yourself as you go down the steep inclines. Also my toes were jamming up gaginst the front of my shoe and I now have two very nice black toes as souvenirs.

We ended with a big bowl of ramen and some good conversation. I said I would never do it again but ……………

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