"" Writer's Wanderings: Sunrise On Mount Fuji

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Sunrise On Mount Fuji

Dots of lights in foreground are climbers.
As I lay in my sleeping bag trying to get a little more rest, I could hear the plod of climbers as they made their way past our hut. The sound of feet hitting the wooden deck told me that we must be getting closer to sunrise.

I crawled out once again from the bunk, donned my trekking boots (didn't want to break the rule for slippers) and watched the head lamps of climbers as they made their way over the rocky part of the climb. I couldn't imagine doing that in the dark with only a light at your feet shining from your forehead.

From my viewpoint at the hut just above Station 8 the sky began to lighten around 4:30 AM. By 4:35 there was some pink tinging the smaller clouds that floated above the thicker layer below me as I looked down the mountainside. I wondered how the climb to the top had been for my family who had gone ahead of me and stayed nearer the top.

My view from Station 8 hut.

What I would learn later was that the climb between where I stayed and their hut was not as bad as the two sections of rock climbing we'd done just before I quit. I still don't think I would have made it. There were steps and that never ending incline.

They reached their hut about 7:30 PM an hour after I was fast asleep. Dinner was waiting for them and consisted of (according to Bob) some sort of hamburger like meat with gravy over rice, a side of some sort of curry, and some sort of vegetable along with a bottle of water to drink.

Their sleeping quarters were much like mine but didn't have the pillow. Bob felt a little uncomfortable sleeping next to a stranger but on the other side of him was one of the kids.

The hardy climbers awaiting sunrise.
They were awake at 1 AM to get breakfast which was a covered plastic dish of rice with a little packet of meat and some other things that he decided he would just stick in his backpack in case he got hungry later. (On the way down our granddaughter would polish off his breakfast.)

At 1:30 they were making the last climb to the top. The good thing about staying in the last hut near the top was that the climb was not as long. The mountain guide took them on an easier path than the climb up the rocks on the last of the Yashida trail would have been. It was actually the descent trail they would discover.

Sunrise at the summit.
Arriving at the summit, they had time to enjoy something to drink (there is actually a small snack operation at the top as well as some restroom facilities) and take pictures as the sun rose. Their view was a little different than mine but not by much as I look at the pictures. The difference is that they could brag that they made the summit--well all of them except our nine year old grandson who was completely worn out and opted to sleep in until they would return for him.

The guide had told me that they would pick me up around 8 AM on the way down the mountain. I spent the morning watching others make the trek up and getting on Facebook a few times. Oh yes, there was WiFi. We had to keep turning off our phones though between usage as the batteries wear out faster at higher altitudes. It must be true for all batteries because at my hut they also sold various sized batteries for cameras--mostly AAs. I managed to message my son and found they were about five minutes from picking me up.

The caldera of the volcano.
Sure enough I saw them at the switchback near our hut and watched as the mountain guide brought my granddaughter with him on a side trail to get me. If I had known, I would have met them there and saved their extra trek.

"Shall we go?" His eyes twinkled.

Oh yes. I was ready.

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