Fuji-san (August 2002)index | prev | next

Near the end of my trip, we made the arduous journey out to Mount Fuji with the intent of having a look around. One thing led to another and the next thing we know, we're climbing up the side of the mountain, ill prepared, high spirited and grossly ignorant of what we were getting ourselves into.

Not being complete fools, we started from the fifth station which was about halfway up the mountain. Regardless of our head start, the top remained elusively distant.

At the lower elevations, the path was littered with shacks serving tasty snacks and providing respite for the weary climber.

The traffic on the road from Tokyo was so bad that the 100 kilometer drive took four and a half hours. I was shocked to discover that the traffic remained backed up all the way up the mountain.

We took small satisfaction in seeing that there were at least as many people in line behind us as ahead.

After quite a few hours of climbing, the last couple spent with an oxygen deprivation headache, we reached the eighth station, the first point at which the path up crossed the path down. Up until then, the only recourse for the aborted journeyer was to walk, head hung in shame, down the up trail, passing thousands of climbers who were clearly hell bent on seeing the top.

Being above the clouds made for a lovely sunset. Though next time, I think I'll bring a jacket.

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©2002 michael bayne  <mdb@samskivert.com>