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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

♥ Mt. Fuji

I have since calmed down a bit since the initial excursion, so I'm not quite as vehemently angry at that sadistic bastard of a mountain, though I am not going to forgive it any time soon for what it did to my body. Haha. Like, I'm not a nature person; anyone who knows me knows this. I like looking at nature, I do not particularly enjoy being in it. However, once I learned I was going to Shizuoka I told myself that I needed to climb Mt. Fuji. I don’t think what that meant really dawned on me until I actually started climbing it this past Saturday. Yeah sure, it was a mountain, but I figured the hike would be like a normal hike, there’d be a train and trees and it’d be all nice and calming.


Mt. Fuji is a volcano, and with that comes rocks, boulders, shale, dust, and no real conceivable path. We started out around 10PM on the Fujinomiya Trail... the shortest, but the steepest trail for Mt. Fuji, in hopes to reach the summit by 4:30AM to see the sunrise. I started out really strong actually, poor Sally had to
tell me to slow down, but I was so eager to get going that I was just heading up too fast. I believe it particularly cruel that the 6th Station is so near the 5th, as it suggested the time between stations would be as short and easy as that was. Post 6th Station was quite different. The trail dissolved into rocks, ledges, boulders, and no hand-ropes as you climbed, crawled, and generally flopped about. I suppose I just don’t understand how it could be so damn dangerous. Like really, people were stumbling and falling all over place, and I know the night climb (or any climb on Fuji) is at your own risk, but dear jesus! There are points you literally have to pull yourself up using the ropes and everyone is grunting or helping push the person in front of you. I think it’s safer when you’re alone perhaps, as when there is a line going ahead, if one person falls dude… that is a nasty domino effect there. It was hard, it was. I know for some people they thought it was easier than expected, but for me, a very inexperienced hiker who prefers the comfort of tea, movies, and her computer, it was not an easy task. Especially in the dark. A lot of it was pushing my stick forward to make sure I was on steady ground and then to move. I climbed the majority of it by myself. I was with Sally at the beginning, but then we got separated, and I wasn’t able to keep up with the crazy awesome pace Jeff and Jessie had. I liked doing it by myself though. It was my own little journey, and I could complain all I wanted… though I still only bitched in my head, though a few “fucking Christ”, “fucking hell,” and “shit”s came out every once in awhile. (ow, I just burned my mouth with tea… uuuugh). How befitting. I just kept telling myself, you can do this, you really can do this.

I quickly learned not to break for too long, because your body temperature plummets. I would be warm and then all the sudden I would start shivering and I had to get up. I never got altitude sickness thankfully, but I did use my oxygen container when I was short on breath. There isn’t a lot of oxygen up there on Fuji. I also learned raisins are insanely delicious at 2AM above the clouds. Those were some damn tasty raisins man. I just kept trucking and station after station I told myself, one more, just one more.

I was shocked and amazed when I hit that 9th station. I just remember standing there (amid the HORRIFIC stench that was the bathrooms) and being like… dude… HOW did I get up this far? I wandered into the restaurant and saw the time was 3:30. I had done it in exactly 5.5hours, and that was with a lot of resting. I was damn well proud of myself. I even started up towards the summit… but after 20minutes and only moving a few feet, I decided I didn’t feel like waiting in line only to miss the sunrise, so I walked back down (and fell like twice) and waited for the sunrise at the 9th station. It was pretty for sure, and I don’t particularly think I missed anything by not going to the summit, other than freezing my ass off more than I already was. I took some pictures and finally headed back down before the massive herd would follow.

I don’t think going down was necessarily harder than going up, but it hurt a LOT more. Fuji is all loose shale and ash, so you slid, fell, and dug your toes so far into the front of your shoe you couldn’t remember the last time you had toes. I had to just collapse a few times because my knees started to shake and I was quickly approaching 24hours without sleep and was on my 7th hour of intense physical labor. 5 falls and no legs left, I finally found Sally at the 6th station and she lovingly gave me advil and a muscle relaxer and we proceeded down. It was very strange seeing Fuji in the sunlight; to actually be able to see the trail. It was weird and slightly terrifying to see what I had climbed up only a few hours before. We were the first group down however around 9AM (24hours awake by then!) and did a lot of sitting (after I wiped out on the stairs), some shopping, and eventually met up with others who had wandered down. The feeling was generally the same between us all... “OH GOD WHY!” Haha.

I am glad I did it; at least I’m pretty sure at this point. I set out to do it, and while I didn’t make it to the top, I made it so much more farther than I thought I was going to. I fought through so much damn pain and exhaustion and I really pushed myself far out of my comfort zone. I’m not afraid to say I’m proud of myself, I really am.

But there is no way in hell will I ever do it again.

10:55 AM

♥ Kristina

      The Curls. The girl. The Nippon.

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      22 yrs old
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      This blog is rated PG-13 for language, occasional violence, crude humor, and lack of pie.

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