Friday, August 11, 2006

Climbing Mount Fuji

I hiked to the top of Mt. Fuji in 2006. I used various forms of public transportation to get out to Station Number 5, which is basically "base camp." Setting out a few hours before sunset, I was determined to view the sunrise from the top of the mountain.
View of Mount Fuji on the flight into Tokyo  
Mount Fuji Station Number 5



Mount Fuji Station Number 7
It was about this time that I had a solid stream of sweat rolling down my back. While I had plenty of water and a change of clothes for the hike down and ride home, I hadn't thought about bringing a third set of clothes to change into when I took a break at the last station before the top of the mountain. Some folks were sleeping, others were chatting outside. I hunkered down in a heated bathroom for a couple of hours. I know what you're thinking, "ew, gross!" but believe me, those were some of the most well-kept bathrooms I've ever seen. Since there wasn't a whole lot of traffic passing thru that station at that time, I basically just sat in my own private stall, warming up and drying out.
A Torii on Mount Fuji
Torii silhouette
Somewhere along the hike up from the last station to the top of the mountain, I ran into the sister of one of my best friends in high school. It was extremely dark, so I couldn't see her all that well, but I could tell from her accent that she was American. So the conversation went something like this:
ME: "What state are you from?"
HER: "Florida."
ME: "Me too! What city?"
HER: "Fort Lauderdale."
ME: "Really? What school did you go to?"
HER: "Saint Thomas"
ME: "Wait a second, are you Garrett's sister?"
HER: "Yeah, Oh, you're Greg!"
How's that for a strange coincidence? A totally unplanned meeting on the opposite side of the world with someone I had given Christmas gifts to over a decade ago? We ended up hiking the rest of the way to the top of the Mount Fuji together and watched the sunrise and then texted a photo of ourselves to her brother in the US.

Before Sunrise on Mount Fuji
Sunrise from on top of Mount Fuji
Marked another one off of the bucket list!
Somewhere along the way down the mountain, we were separated again, which only makes the meeting that much more special I think. Well, at least we'll always have Fuji.
The dude in back climbed Mt. Fuji in a suit. Why?
You can almost see it in the picture above, but the entire mountain is made of (somewhat obvious, now that I think of it) the kind of lava rocks that you see in saunas. Which is to say, very hard to walk on. My boots got torn apart.
So much for that pair of boots.


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