Japan / Mt Fuji Climb

Life isn’t about how many breaths you take,
but the moments that take your breath away.

I have stopped sleeping inside.
A house is too small,
too confining.
I want the whole world,
and the stars, too.

(Sue Hubbell, 1986)

 

View from Mt Fuji, 9pm

 

The Mt Fuji Climb
It was an easy ascent especially from 5th to 7th station. The slope was mild and the sun was shining cheerfully upon us. Blue sky and beautiful large fluffy clouds came beneath our feet as soon as we climbed high enough and I was just blissfully happy and at peace purely by the enjoyment of capturing what laid before my eyes with my camera.

As the climb got rocky and steep, each step was more laborious. I was surprised to find so many 7th stations we passed along the way, and wondered why this was so. The ‘oh we’re more than half way’ became ‘what? only 1/3 of the way?’ by the time we looked at the climbing map. Soon we got onto our hands and knees and needed gloves in order to move upwards.

As the sun fell down the western horizon, I pumped up the music. Ministry of sound made each step more encouraging and I discovered a technique which worked well for me. Music made me want to dance, so I ‘danced’ my way up. I liked doing a small runner up for about 10 meters, before my body built up the lactic acid from the increasingly thinning oxygen, then I would stop, rest, catch my breath, waiting for the rest of the girls to approach nearer, whilst appreciating the gorgeous view of clouds, foliage, mountains and lakes in the distance. These were blissful moments during the climb when all my worries were a world away. It was just me, my music and my camera. It felt like heaven, as I stared upon mother nature’s amazing creation.

 

How to climb a mountain? One step at a timeWatching as the sun went down…
By the time we reached the hut, it was already pitch black. The final half an hour before we arrived was like pushing my body beyond its limits. Every 5 steps, we needed to pause to catch our breath, my SLR and backpack started to weigh a tonne and it was an absolute relief and delight when I finally collapsed my tired body onto theĀ  the small warm patch of floor where we would lie and rest for a few hours before we would commence our ascent to our summit again at 2:30am.

Trouble was, I woke up at 12am, not sure whether to put more clothes on or take them off. I had very little blanket space (imagine 4 people squeezed into a queen sized bedspace, hundreds of bodies lay side by side packed like sardine city). The floor was hard and the pillow represented little more than a small wheat sack. Compounded by the fact that stereo sound snoring was all around, sleep eluded me. When we all realized the 4 of us couldn’t sleep, we decided to head to the summit earlier. Outside the hut, the air was all of a sudden refreshing. Already an entire dragon line of torches were snaking their way as the path got more crowded with all the other station climbers, keen to be at the summit for the sunrise.

A picture speaks a thousand words, so let me just post them up to save the description of what laid before my eyes when the sun rose. Standing at the summit of Mt Fuji, full of wonder and excitement, it was one of the most spectacular sunrise I’ve ever seen.

We love Mt Fuji Sunrise

In all, the Mt Fuji climb was a great experience and I’m glad I did it. Here’s the rest of my Japan holiday story:

No shoes allowed

Spoilt by choiceI miss ramen

Sushi TrainLook who we’ve found at Harajuku?

Hello StrangerJust your regular morning exercise

 

After many long hot 38 degree summer days, it finally rained!One day I’ll get myself a Japanese style screenPainting with light

Inside a temple of beautiful treasuresFeeding then getting attacked by the hungry deersBest Friends

Why we travelExploring old town KyotoStairway to heaven

Exploring Old Town Kyoto

Hello Kimono girlFateKawaii Tsk tsk tourists…Look I spotted a geisha!You’ve been snappedBest banquet we’ve had, Kyoto RyokanTea?Our waitressWe found this resting on your neatly folded tatami bedsTea for 2Lost in translation

Click onto the image to view their slideshow: Best viewed full screen with music