Sorry, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything substantial. When we haven’t been busy, I’ve been very tired!
Let’s start with Mount Fuji, the raison-d’être! Well I already wrote a bit about the grueling trip up. It wasn’t lastingly hard but I did get a lot of headaches from the lack of oxygen and I needed frequent breaks. Definitely an interesting experience and amazing challenge.
When we reached the 7.9 station, where our hut was, we found we were the only 外人 on the Gotemba trail. This was pretty cool, as the Japanese people there were super friendly and fun. We settled in and enjoyed some Japanese curry and talked with out fellow travellers. Only one spoke good English but she translated where needed.
The funny thing is, while Japanese people are super friendly and crazy polite, you are still a foreigner (外人 -Gaijen). Bert made the faux-pas of stepping on the mat with his slippers. He quickly excused himself when our host pointed it out. The host then turned around to a fellow Japanese guy and said something something Gaijen something hahahahahaha! Heh. Would be funny if we did that in English. Hey, check out that stupid foreigner! Hahaha!
Anyway, I went to bed around 9 or 10, when they shut off the electricity. It took a long time to get to sleep and it was a bad sleep. We awoke the next “morning” around 2:10, put on every bit of clothing we owned, and set out for the top! It was cold and quite windy but we made it with time to spare for the sunrise. It was an incredible sight and feeling. And as the light came and the clouds cleared, we could see everything below us. Incredible.
Bert and I met a woman from Norway, who joined us for the circumnavigation of the summit and the search for our remaining three friends. Funny enough, they were sheltered from the wind only 100 metres away from our shelter! Matthijs was in rather rough shape but he was alive at least. Elon gave him a can of oxygen, which they sell on the mountain. We continued on to the old weather station, built at the highest point of the mountain, at 3776m!! There, we found the highest Geocache I’ve ever discovered. Very cool.
Eventually, we started our descent. It was long and tough but a lot of fun. There is a “great sand run”, where you can run down the mountain, through volcanic ash. It’s awesome. But your shoes get filled with rocks and you have to take care not to tumble or otherwise injure yourself. Unfortunately, the rocks filled in such a way in the backs of my shoes that I cut up my heels. It wasn’t very nice for walking but I’m keeping them bandaged up well enough. No pain no gain.
The long trek to Kyoto is almost better left forgotten but truly every part of this epic adventure deserves to be remembered. It was, however, a great feeling to hit that futon upon arrival in Kyoto. The rest is for the next post.