Battling Mount Fuji

August of 2009, Boot Size 10

Greetings my readers,

There are many once in a lifetime opportunities, and going to Japan with People to People was one of them. And during that trip there were many occurrences I doubt I’ll be able to repeat. Meeting government officials, picking tea on the mountain next to Mount Fuji (though I am determined to find a way to do this again), and celebrating my birthday in Tokyo. But there is one event that occurred while exploring my favorite foreign country that I do not wish to reenact.

This event was the time I found Mount Fuji.

Please note that I do not own this photo. Due to weather issues, I could not get a good photo. This a stock photo from Microsoft, they own it!

Our group was not taking the usual trail one hikes up Mount Fuji. Hiking to the top generally takes all day and our group was always determined to cram as many activities into our day as possible. Luckily there is a second path, though not as “popular” (I’m sure it is well known, but probably not the most commonly thought of path).

You see, Mount Fuji has two major eruption sites, not one. Halfway down the mountain is the eruption site called Hōei-zan, named for its eruption in the- fancy that- Hōei period. This was our hiking destination. It’s a much shorter trip, but a steeper and a touch more strenuous. Since we weren’t going to spend the whole day hiking, this was our group’s path.

Our bus trundled up the mountain until road transportation was no longer available (the fifth station) and all forty of us tumbled off. After being holed up in a bus, our legs were happy to get a bit of stretching in. They had no idea what they were in for.

Gathering all together we met up with our guide for Mount Fuji. In passing I noticed Japanese school groups, including one group all dressed in orange rain coats with walking sticks.

The walking sticks they held are a particular souvenir available when climbing to the main summit of Mount Fuji. At the first station of the mountain you buy a simple look walking stick with a stamp on it. Then at every station you can get another stamp until the final stamp at the top of Mount Fuji. Overall it is an awesome souvenir to think about getting, but keep in mind that the higher one climbs, the more expensive each stamp gets.

Nevertheless we were on our way. At first we were eager to trek up, but of course over time in got steeper and more difficult to climb. If you aren’t an experienced climber or at least exercised then this can actually be a chore. Considering I love biking and hiking mountains, I was used to my calves straining to take the next step.

To give you idea of how rocky it was, yet there was greenery poking out at every possible point. This is very similar to how our path was.

The next huge part was that it was very foggy. And by foggy I mean you can’t see five people ahead of you foggy. This dense fog made the entire trek up seem that much more mysterious and adventurous. Exploring an area where you can only see a tiny piece at a time. On the downside it also made it impossible to decide if one was hot from all the hiking or cold from the brisk mountain air and cooling fog. I myself must have yanked my sleeves up and down countless times trying to keep my body at an even and comfortable temperature.

The fooooooog!!!!! Seriously it was so thick.

Nevertheless, we made it up to Hōei-zan and despite the lingering fog the view was gorgeous.

This is the top of the crater. Absolutely gorgeous

The guide offered to take anyone willing to go further into the crater. I was more than willing to volunteer for venturing into the crater of a volcano. It would be lame if I did not! I mean if you’re going on a potential once in a lifetime adventure, go all the way!

This is where my battle began. It was a true struggle and we both exchanged blows. Mount Fuji started by attempting to trip me up and get me off my game. I responded with a full body slam, which probably threw off ol’ Fuji. But it recovered quickly and turned the fight into a dirty cat fight. Attacking with rocks and pebbles it resorted to cat fight tactics of scratching and clawing. It was at this point that I realized this fight was pointless even as I skidded down the mountain’s surface, trying to find a weak point in my enemy’s defense. I held my hands up in surrender, and slowly stood up to admit my defeat.

Fighting Mount Fuji is not an adventure I intend to repeat again, but aside from my skirmish the hike was a beautiful and freshening experience.

Thankfully only one hand was injured, and most of it could be covered by a bandage

My legs on the other hand.....

Those were a little more beat up. Thankfully no serious injuries, but they burned like a mo'fo'

Lesson of the story? Don’t try to descend a mountain too fast. If you do there’s a high chance of encountering a battle like you’ve never experienced before. And you would not want to try it ever again.

Categories: Japan, Past Tides | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Battling Mount Fuji

  1. Peter Nickerson

    Gravity it’s not just a good Idea, It’s the law. Fuji was just playing with you, unfortunately even the gentlest nudge from a mountain tends to leave a mark.

  2. And it’s still standing too…. pfft. Total failure.

  3. tracking in mountain or beach its really fun, eventhough its quite dangerous 🙂

  4. katemcmillanblogs

    Hi from Australia! You liked a post I wrote about Japan a while back, so now I’m just getting my stalk on and snooping through your blog. Which I love, and will now follow.
    PS. I climbed Mt Fuji on Friday the 13th… And that mountain put up an ENORMOUS fight. We made it all the way to seventh station, then blizzards kicked in and we had to turn back. But it was still amazing. Maybe one day I’ll go back for Round 2, but… not just yet.
    Keep blogging. Your posts are fun. 😀

    • Thank you so much for commenting and the stalk/snoop!!!
      I cannot wait to return to Japan and finally climb Mt Fuji… and maybe a few new mountains!
      I love your Pip and Squeak comics, they’re adorable! And I’ll definitely make sure to leave more comments as you post! I would definitely like to read any more fun Japan stories, being a Japan nutter. ;D But overall I like reading your stuff! 🙂 🙂

      • katemcmillanblogs

        Haha, I don’t go to Japan nearly as much as I’d like to, so fun Japan stories might be somewhat scarce. But I’m studying the language at uni, so might be able to wring some posts out of that. And I’m hoping to do a few more anime/manga drawings for some friends, which I’ll probably put up soon. Aaand, in November I plan to go to Supanova, which I suspect is similar to Comicon and your Anime Boston, though maybe smaller. And the majority of people have Australian accents… Anyway, it’s a whiles off, but I suspect I’ll eventually blog about that. 🙂 It’s always fun to release the inner geek. :mrgreen:

      • I think the Australian accents would just make that con ten times more awesome!

        Releasing the inner geek is very refreshing! To the point where I never let the inner geek back in. xDDDD

  5. Pingback: Most Amazing Volcanoes Around The World - Top Amazing Places in the World

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