Friday, August 18, 2017

I'll Try Again Another Day

I haven't been able to see Mt. Fuji in weeks.  That happens in summer.  I wanted to try to climb Mt. Fuji last summer during my summer vacation, but instead had to spend the time with medical tests followed by surgery after my cancer diagnosis.  

The climbing season is only two months, July 10th - September 10th, but I hoped to be able to go to the top this summer.  I didn't want to go on a weekend or during the obon holiday week, but thought I had plenty of time. Originally, I set aside August 7 - 10 (the 11th was a national holiday followed by the weekend, then the obon holiday week). I thought one of those days would be good weather.  I was wrong.  

I continued to watch the weather forecast, thinking I could go on a weekend or during obon week, it would just be more crowded.  Finally, I decided I could go in the rain, as long as it wasn't a thunderstorm.  Wednesday was to be the day. 


I packed my raincoat, a fleece jacket, a nylon vest, a long sleeved shirt, an extra pair of socks, sunscreen, sunglasses, my camera, two liters of water and a bottle of coke zero, a PBJ sandwich, carrot sticks, a couple of granola bars, a mini first aid kit, and some toilet paper.  

I woke up at 4 am, left home at 4:30 am and walked to the train station to catch the 5:39 am train.  I had to change trains in Fuji City, arriving in Fujinomiya at 6:27 am.  I quickly found the bus stop and was the last person to get on the crowded 6:30 am bus to the Fujinomiya trail.  

It was raining, but I was okay with that. 

The trail start area was pretty sad and disappointing.  I expected something nicer and newer. I used the toilet (all toilets on the mountain cost 200 yen to use and they smell awful!).  After  looking around a bit and paying my 1000 yen to enter the trail, I headed out.  

From the fifth to the sixth stage, it was pretty easy, not too steep.  The rain got harder and the view wasn't much and so I continued.  

The trail got rockier and steeper. The rocks were slippery and sometimes I was off balance, but I was careful not to fall down.  I don't need another broken bone.  

I heard some rumbling in the distance, but I wasn't sure if it was thunder. I passed by the original seventh stage and was almost to the new seventh stage when the thunder shook the air around me.

I thought about wanting to go to the top and weighed that against the chance of getting hit by lightning. I decided to turn around and go down. The thunder continued all around me all the way down.  Going down was difficult and kind of scary. I had a bad case of sewing machine legs (You know, when your legs shake uncontrollably). 

This wasn't a once in a lifetime chance.  I live in Shizuoka and could come back another time.  I was disappointed, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Now that I have the logistics figured out and know where to change trains, which platform to get train #2, where the bus stop is, etc., it won't be difficult to come again. 

This was my view from the bus on the ride back to the train station.  

Better luck next time.


kiwikid said...

What a shame about the weather Pamela, it looks very touristy up the mountain, are there buildings at each level? I imagined it to be just a track up the mountain. Hopefully next time you try the weather will be better. The thjnder all around you would have been scary.

Von said...

How disappointing that the weather didn't cooperate with you! And I can't imagine feeling the thunder at such an elevation and exposure - so scary! But as you say, you'll have an easier time of it with all you learned from this trip. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Pamela oh dear what a shame the weather wasnt better for you,know you no what to do it will be easier for you next time,still a lovely experience though,well done xx

Vireya said...

It makes a very interesting story, even without getting to the top. It doesn't look like a good place to be in an electrical storm!

Vireya said...

It makes a very interesting story, even without getting to the top. It doesn't look like a good place to be in an electrical storm!

Janie said...

Lightning and thunder up close is intense. You had an adventure
I'm sure you know that the more you try something new the better you get at it.
It's those first couple of times though that scare the heck out of you!

NADINE said...

Oh, Pam, I can understand your disappointment after so much effort, and so many expectations... but I'm in AWE with your courage and adventurous spirit. What a challenge !
I LOVE rain (and thunder, too) but such weather on such a big trail , that must really have been something !
Of course you'll try again, and I'm sure you'll get to the top :D

I like your pictures, my favourite being the one with one single person, wearing a long red raincoat, on the trail, among the clouds...

THANKS for the inspiration, dear Pam.

Brigitte said...

I think you were doing the right thing to turn around and walk back down. You never know with thunderstorms in the mountains. There will certainly be another chance for you to get to the top of Mount Fuji.

Sarah said...

Oh, yes, how disappointing to be so close to the summit and then needing to turn back for safety concerns. Your many pictures made it feel like we were there with you (and you KNOW I love a good mountain climb!). Only one detail was missing: How long did it take to reach the summit?

Queeniepatch said...

I'm glad you returned home. Mt Fuji should be climbed and enjoyed on a finer day. The view from the top is great. If you go at night (I did in 1984) you can touch the stars, they are that close!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Thank you for such an interesting and photo filled post. It's good to know that perhaps you will endeavor to reach the top on another day. I suspect the descent will be less dangerous on a sunny day. I have never had a fear of lightning, but I bet I would if I were climbing Mt. Fuji!! Even though you couldn't complete the climb, I bet it was satisfying to attempt to.
xx, Carol

Anna van Schurman said...

Quite an adventure. We had weather like that the one day we were able to drive the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia. You're lucky you can go back and try again!

Leonore Winterer said...

Oh boo for the weather not cooperating with your plans! I wouldn't have dared to go up there in the storm either. Hopefully, you'll get another chance to go up there soon!