Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fujisan! I Climbed a Volcano!

On Tuesday I began my journey to climb Mt. Fuji. I had my first glimpse of Fujisan that day from the train in Shuzenji.

Finally I arrived at Shinfuji station where I met up with three of my friends. We waited for several hours for the bus to take us to the Fujinomiya Trail 5th Station. We sat around in the station and ate some snacks. Then we walked to the grocery store to buy more food. They had a CD player playing an awesome song about onigiri. You would only understand if you were there, but here's a video anyway.

Then we headed back to the station and sat around and ate more food (we did a lot of eating that day).

After eating, we still had a while to wait for the bus. While waiting, one of my friends was attacked by a ninja.

My friend had a special video project she was working on for her friends back in Australia. The ninja attack was one of the parts of the video. It is too hard to explain the reason for this video, but it was a lot of fun.

At the gift store in the train station we went ahead and purchased our walking sticks. They are really awesome because we got stamps burned into them at the different stations (not train stations... I'm talking about the mountain huts) on Mt. Fuji.

The bus was about to arrive!

The bus took about 2 hours. The first part of it was going to a couple other stations. Then finally we began ascending Mt. Fuji towards the Fujinomiya Trail 5th Station. The 5th station was above the clouds. We rested there for a while to get used to the altitude and to attach bunches of glowing bracelets to ourselves.

The glowing bracelets were awesome just because they were glowing and colorful, but they really did help us to distinguish each other in the dark.

We began our climb at 8:30. It was easy to get to the 6th station. The rest would not be so easy though.

Here we are resting at the 6th station.

The order of the stations is:
5th -> 6th -> New 7th -> Old 7th -> 8th -> 9th -> 9.5 -> Summit!

At some point we took a video of our awesome glowiness.

The climb to the next station (old 7th) wasn't too hard. The climb from old 7th to new 7th and then to the 8th station was more strenuous and we had a lot of rocks to climb over. Plus, we were feeling the altitude more and took many rests. The views were beautiful. We could see so many cities. The lights were sparkling because they were so far away and they looked a little bit like they were on fire. We could see so far! We weren't sure what some of the cities were but we think we could see as far as Tokyo.

This picture was taken from the new 7th station (or maybe the old 7th station). You can kind of see the view of the lights below. It was soooooooo much better in person though.

The sky was super clear too since we were above the clouds. I saw several shooting stars!

The rest of the climb was really strenuous and I don't remember too many details about some of the stations or the climb in between. But here is a photo of me at the 9th station!

At the 9th station we realized we didn't have too much time to get to the top before sunrise, so we began taking fewer breaks.

We went past an area with snow. Crazy!

Haha, yeah the picture is terrible. Oh well... it proves I saw snow!

The sunrise began before we reached the top, but it was still beautiful even though we couldn't see the sun. This picture was taken at 4:01 but I have some pictures taken around 3:50 that have a little bit of light in the sky. The sun rises too early!

The climb to the very top was difficult. I thought once I could see the top I would be motivated to keep going quickly. But I was super tired and had to keep stopping. The top was so close and I knew that if I just kept going I could be at the top in just a couple minutes, but I still took breaks to rest.

I finally arrived at the top! We arrived at the summit around 4:45. It took us about 8 hours and 15 minutes to reach the top.

Yeah, that man is smoking on Mt. Fuji. I don't see how people were smoking up there and at the stations. I was having enough trouble catching my breath.

The sky was so beautiful! :)

The point up there on the left is actually the highest point on Mt. Fuji. I actually didn't go up there. I was just too tired! The building up there is an old weather station that is no longer used.

The top of the mountain has many things. There are vending machines but I didn't see them because they were at the top of another trail (I did see many vending machines along the way though at the stations). I did see the post office though! Unfortunately they were sold out of the special Mt. Fuji stamps.

On top of Mt. Fuji I received the top stamp. It wasn't the last one I got though. I had to get many on the way down because after the 6th station, the other stations had been closed at night.

The top stamp was the only one that wasn't burned in. It actually looks less special than the rest of the stamps. I thought the top one should be more special than all the rest. Oh well... it's still awesome! :) :) :)

The weather was perfect for our climb. We could see so far.

There's the Izu Peninsula!

I climed a volcano! Here I am by the crater.

We began our hike down around 8 AM. No sleep for us!

The hike down was really difficult. We didn't need as many breaks, but we went very slowly. It felt much more dangerous going down than it had going up. Going up was strenuous, but I didn't feel like I was going to hurt myself. The loose rocks made it very hard to go down. I slipped several times.

There was a crazy vehicle going up the mountain. It was just like a box on treads. Soooooo weird.

Here are some futons airing out at one of the stations. They kind of blend into the clouds!

We ate breakfast (or whatever meal you eat after staying awake for 24 hours straight) at the 8th station. I had curry rice. It wasn't the best curry I've had, but it was so awesome to have a real meal after just having snack food for so long. Yum!

At some point (maybe around one of the 7th stations) we headed into the clouds.

The view looking up was still super blue though!

Between the new 7th station and the 6th stations it began to rain. So I don't have too many pictures at this point. Here is a picture someone else took. As you can see, the visibility was pretty low.

We made it to the bottom around 2:15, just in time for the 2:30 bus. It had taken us about 6 hours and 15 minutes to descend.

I tried to sleep on the bus but I never really completely fell asleep because it was soooo cold! I was wet and that didn't help.

Then on the train ride home I sorta slept for like maybe a couple minutes, but it was very light sleep. But if you don't count that I didn't go to bed until about 11 that night. I was up for 38 hours! I would be tired if I had stayed up that long doing nothing, but I had climbed Mt. Fuji!

Here is my walking stick with all its stamps. It's the best souvenir ever. :)

Overall it was one of the best experiences of my life. It was long and strenuous, but totally worth it! Right now I am super sore. I saw old people hiking Mt. Fuji. They are probably less sore than me right now, lol.

You can see some more pictures on facebook. Click Here!


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