|Fuji-san in the distance|
|Our view of Fuji-san from Camp Fuji|
|Fujikyu bus station, ticket office|
|Saving our spot in line at|
The trip from Gotemba train station to Subashiri 5th station took about an hour of back and forth switchbacks - an interesting drive in a big ole bus.
Well, it was a little drizzly and kinda boring just sitting there waiting. So, after I bought my Fuji Walking stick (1000¥) and Kris ate a piece of leftover pizza, we made our way to the start of the trail.
|5th Station stamp|
|This is where it all begins!|
We gave our 1000¥ each at the donation box to help pay for trail upkeep, which, in return, we received two information books (now deformed by all the moisture we encountered) and two buttons. The books are all in Japanese, but it looks like it explains the different trails as well as different sites around the base and up the mountain. We got a stamp on the Subashiri Trailhead.
A few feet up the path we got a speech at the next little hut about making sure we follow the correct trail down. You see, the Subashiri trail and the Yoshida trail meet up at the 8th station, and if you take the wrong trail down you will end up at the wrong bus terminal and have a really hard time getting back where you need to go. So, Terra and Kris....follow the red trail!!!
We started our hike in t-shirts, shorts (Kris), hiking pants (Terra) and rain gear (coats and pants). We had off and on drizzle up to the 6th station. At the 6th station we took the rain pants off...shew it was hot!
This is the station....they sell drinks and some food (expensive! but it gets more expensive the higher you go) and you can rent a place to sleep for, I think it was about 2500 Yen per person. There were also picnic tables to sit and relax for a bit. Which is what we did. At each station I sat anywhere from 20-45 minutes to get acclimated to the altitude, get a little bit of food in me (trail mix is what I packed...man, M&Ms never tasted so good!), and to drink some water to keep the headaches at bay.
Next up, the original 6th station...yeah, we didn't read up too much on the actual stations. So, on this trail there can be anywhere from 1 to 3 different stations to each number. Not such a big deal when you're just starting out, feeling excited and energetic. But, once you're exhausted and just ready to be at the top, that third 8th station seems like someone's cruel, cruel joke.
|Kristofer winding his way up the switchbacks. You can follow the rope back down our path.|
There was no stamp at this station, only a sticker (I think it was 200Yen). I bought it with the idea to put it onto my stick later. Well, if that stick goes out into the rain that little sticker will come right off. So, not sure what I'll do with it.
Altitude: 3200 m
420 m to next station
2.0 km to summit.
Miharashi-kan is the sleeping hut here.
Altitude: 3400 m
My picture taking abilities were becoming very limited at this point. I can't read what's on most of the signs from here on up due to the shaking of my hands.
The lights are starting to come on down below.
The stamp for this station: 400 Yen for two stamps.
Altitude: 3450 m
200 m to the next station.
600 m to the summit
We talked with a girl from Uruguay at this station. I briefly chatted with her from about the original 7th station on up as we took turns passing each other.
This is the last station where you can sleep in a hut. Goraiko-kan is the name of the hut. Wow! It was party central! There were people all over the place - laughing and running around.
Altitude: 3776 m / 12,395 ft
These are the last two pictures I took on the whole trip. And, here's why... IT'S SO COLD UP THERE!!!!
So, here's where things get a little hairy. First, once I got to the top I immediately sat down and opened up the chili-mac MRE Kris packed for me. Turns out, the batch of MRE's we ordered came without the heating pouches inside. Yeah, that's right. We had to eat our food (chili mac for me and meatballs in marinara for Kris) cold...at the top of the cold mountain...while we were freezing. But, you want to know what...that was the best damn meal I have ever eaten in my entire life!!! I inhaled that packet of cold food within minutes! After a congratulatory mountaintop kiss, we quickly searched for a place to hunker down for the night.
We weren't quite expecting to be at the top of the mountain this early. We were hoping to be up there by around midnight, with a 0430-ish sunrise. Leaving us four hours to nap or walk around. I don't quite think we anticipated the weather to be as bad as it was. 19 degrees with a 30-40 kph wind. Our first spot was next to a couple of vending machines. This is where Kris ate his dinner after we added more clothing layers and changed our socks. We tried huddling here sitting up, then laying down, then sitting up again. We had our packs on top of us. It was just so cold! I was shaking uncontrollably. And, then out of nowhere I was crying! I was begging him to just take me home. It was too cold and I didn't care about seeing a sunrise. He said, just a minute, I'll be back. A few minutes later he came back and said he found a better place. So, we walked back toward where we reached the summit and then over toward the edge of the mountain. Right near the edge was a little hut. And, on the back side of this hut there were four steps dug into the ground with a rock retaining wall kind of curving around it. So, in we went. It was better, but still so cold! After more tears and me begging to leave (which would have been stupid at this point because I had very little coordination and my mind was not at all there, combine that with the crazy wind and I would have surely fallen to my death).
Luckily, I have a very smart and resourceful husband (aka: my hero!). He said, don't worry I'm going to take care of you. Then, he marched off. Within minutes he was back with stuff. He told me to get up and he threw a 4x3 mat underneath me. Then he said, cover your eyes this is dirty, and threw a canvas tarp on top of me. Immediately the wind was gone. He bought me a hot can of coffee to hold, well he got it for me to drink, but i just couldn't bring myself to drink anything. So, I just held it to my frozen toes and then my frozen legs and then my frozen arms. (Yes, I bought, and we brought, those self-stick heating things. You know, the HotHands body warmers? They were NOT working. I had them in my shoes, in my shirt, stuck to my stomach. Not one of them would heat up. Well, now that we are down in real oxygen and light enough to read the package. They are oxygen activated. Duh...not a whole lot of oxygen up there. And, even less when they are tucked away under clothes and a tarp.) And, there I waited for the sun to rise. Kris kept himself as warm as possible by walking around all night. At around midnight we were lucky enough to start enjoying rain! Not just a drizzle. But, rain.