Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This Is What Exhaustion Looks Like

*Warning! This post is long! Sorry!*

Planning for our honeymoon was so much fun! We knew that we'd have about a month but how we decided upon going to Thailand, I can't even remember. We've travelled a lot of Europe, so that was out. Australia for a honeymoon didn't appeal to me all that much, and everyone we talked to who'd been to Thailand loved it. Okay, so that was an easy decision.

With views like this, how can you resist Thailand?

Our flight each way had a layover in Tokyo, so we figured we would spend a few days in Japan on our way home. This was the best idea we've ever had. Japan was great, I can't wait to go back.

While I was doing research about things to do in Japan, I found out that the official climbing season for Mt. Fuji is during the months of July and August. Perfect! I talked M into it, figuring this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity, and so it was a go!

From Tokyo, we took a bus to Fujikawaguchiko town, which is at the base of Mt. Fuji. Then we took another bus up to the the 5th station, which is the most popular starting point for climbers. This was at 10:30pm. We had read that the ascent takes about 6 hours and we wanted to be at the summit in time for sunrise.

So, off we went. Within the first 15 minutes, I tripped over a rock and twisted my ankle. I was pissed. And in pain! Well, on we went, and I would say the first 2 hours were great! I thought this was in the bag! It wasn't TOO steep, just sorta slippery with the tiny rocks the paths are made up of. We were going at a fast pace and didn't want to stop because each time we took a break my ankle would start throbbing.

Well, during hour 3, things started going downhill with M. I think he got some altitude sickness and kept having to stop because he was nauseous and dizzy. Also, the nice paths pretty much disappeared and big rocks appeared in their place. Silly me, I didn't actually think I would be "mountain climbing". I thought it would just be a steep hill the entire way, but oh no... at some points I remember I was on all fours, searching for the next safe place to put my foot.

Around this time, it started getting very busy with people on tours who were blocking the way. There is only so much room, people, step aside! This slowed us down a lot and we would often be standing in the same spot in queues for long periods of time. So annoying!

Just standing around and moving so slowly meant we got cold real fast. I had brought with me a long sleeved shirt, or possibly two, a raincoat, a hat, and gloves. I was wearing all of the clothing I packed and I was still FREEZING!

We finally reached the top around 3:30am and had to wait just a bit for the sunrise. I quickly found a spot to sit, while M did his husbandly duty of taking pictures. I was so cold I was shivering and my feet were numb, it was ridiculous. At this point I just wanted the damn sunrise to be over with so we could leave!

Get me out of here! NOW!

I think I'm about to die...

We were at the top for maybe 45 minutes and wanted to get a head start going down so we didn't have to fight the crowds. Physically, the climb up was fairly demanding - I was breathing steady and hard for a lot of the heavy climbing, but at this point I was fairly fit and was used to climbing a lot of stairs. I thought the worst part was over, but let me tell you, going down was a million times harder.

Yay! We look happy but we're really in pain!

M compares the descent to what he thinks childbirth would be like! Bhahaha!! Just imagine slipping and sliding down a steep hill in the scorching sun, with your toes ramming into your shoes with every step you take. We thought our toes were going to be black and blue, but luckily that didn't happen. A month later, M's big toenail did fall off - a coincidence? I think not! (7 months later and it's almost grown back!!) The pebbles are so slippery, you are literally sliding with every other step. Your knees just kill and pair this with no sleep - we were a mess! M was is so much pain - it's kinda funny to think about it now, but at the time we just wanted to sit down and cry. There were no benches to rest on and the only bathroom was near the bottom. I can't even explain.

Here is the line of people still waiting to get to the top!

After about 3 and a half hours we finally made it down, caught our bus back to the hostel, and went to bed! It wasn't until I saw Mt. Fuji on a postcard a couple of days later and thought to myself - holy shit, I climbed that sucka! And survived!!

The Japanese say that "one who never climbs Mt. Fuji is a fool, and one who climbs twice is twice the fool."

Never again, never again!! BUT, it was so worth it in the end!

Yes, of course it was worth it! Look at me, I'm on Mt. Fuji! Unreal!


  1. The pics are great. I can never resist a palm tree pic. It makes my heart warm. And you are lucky you had the opportunity to climb mt. Fuji. How high up where you when you started at Station 5? And how long a distance was it to the top from there?

  2. A once in a lifetime experience for sure. I'll be interested to see how YOU compare it to childbirth, not M ;)

  3. I'm so glad that I was naive to what it would be like for you and M when you were climbing Mt. Fuji. I didn't worry about you at all!!!
    But... what an experience!!! Something you will always remember!!!

  4. S - the 5th station is at about 7545 feet and the top of Mt. Fuji is 12,388 feet. I can't imagine starting from the bottom, yikes!

    You'd probably have to rent one of the huts at a rest spot and sleep!

  5. What a great experience it must have been!