Friday, September 7, 2012

Summit

I once told myself that I MUST climb Mt. Fuji before leaving Japan for good. After 4 years since returning back to Japan, it happened. Would that be a precursor that I am leaving Japan anytime soon? One August weekend, I found myself buying hiking gears and stuff for a scheduled climb on August 31. It wasn’t a one-year old plan. The preparation was too short as it was decided right away after a suggestion was casually made on what event the group needs to do after Hanabi and Badminton activities. 

fuji 04 


The day came and there was no turning back. The group decided to take the easiest route to the summit – the Yoshida Trail, based on some research and Mt.Fuji-climb related blogs. And since all of us, except one, were first timers, we thought that it was the best way to heaven. Everyone was all smiles at the start of trek. But that changes with each step towards the peak of Fuji-san which is at 3,776 m above sea level.  The trails also change from time to time,  it must due to climatic revolution

 fuji 02a fuji 10fuji 07 fuji 08 

Our pace wasn't as fast compared to the other climbers but glad we did it slowly as we were able to enjoy and appreciate nature's masterpieces flashing before our eyes. Mother Nature can be a show-off at times. I always told them to do it slowly but surely until I fell down on my knees even with that motto in mind. This is one of my favorite shots during our climb taken at station 7, around 1800H. 

fuji 09 

echoes of silence
whispering winds, dancing clouds
magical moment

We started climbing at 1330H and were at top of Japan few minutes before midnight. The sign at the 5th station says that it the summit could be reached in approximately 7 hours from the starting point but it took us 12 hours. I’ll take all the blame why it took us so long to be at the summit since I’m the slowest. We stayed at the top of the mountain freezing. It was so cold that the four of us were already having flashbacks of our childhood years. Luckily or unluckily to us, the peak started to warm up with the presence of other hikers. All of a sudden it was pandemonium.

 fuji 14 

I can’t imagine lots were crazy enough to hike for more than 11 hours just to wait and see the sunrise? Believe me though that it was one hell of an experience. And I am using hell here in a positive way. The sunrise was so stunning that I forgot to click my camera. I was there just to seize the moment. I even forgot that I was freezing. As the sun appeared, applause and gasps filled the air. Japanese are really that appreciative.

 alienfuji 13 fuji 12 

Few more steps would bring us to heaven already. Fare would be approximately free especially if you take a wrong step. As much as we wanted to stay at the top, we need to go down to avoid the predicted downpour. Going down seems easy but it’s not. I stumbled for a few times and hoped that I the next time I open my eyes I am already inside of the bus. 

fuji 

One of my friends asked me if I feel like an accomplished mountaineer after reaching the peak of Japan’s tallest mountain. I replied that mountaineer, no. Photographer, yes. I kept on protecting my gadgets more than myself. 

It was definitely a great experience. But am I tempted to climb Mt. Fuji again? NO. 


fuji

Mt. Everest, you are next. 

/totomai 
2012/09/07

50 comments:

  1. ay you're not climbing again? sama pa naman ako next time! haha.
    great pictures esp. the one with the flag. i love it.

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    1. haha di na kaya ng powers ko. sa mt everest na tayo derecho lol

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  2. great effort! but was it the weight of your camera gear that slowed you down :)

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    1. could be. but mostly it was my belly haha

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  3. partner! nice photo composition, thumbs up! another worth reading entry. isang akyat pa next year. lol

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    1. partner kaya mo na yan next year. haha

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    2. Next time, I will bring a Nikon camera. haha. a new believer of nikon. lol

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    3. that's good news! itapon na ang Canon hhaha

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  4. oh John, so proud of you, so now probably, it would mean more hikes for you? now probably you understand far better my joy of hiking and climbing mountains. :)

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    1. i was actually thinking of you when i reached the top. i would love too but i think i need more exercise haha. :-)

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  5. Galing! Wait...12 hours di ba? Paano kung mag-C-CR ka. Dump or leak nalang kahit saan sa trail ng Mt. Fuji? Pwede yun?

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    1. may toilet naman kada station. haba lang pila minsan at may amoy haha

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    2. I see. Tama din, may toilets since sacred ground ang Mt. Fuji (as shown in your photos - may mga torii). Kailangan maintain ang cleanliness. :)

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    3. oo pero dahil wala siyado mapag kunan ng tubig, tiis tiis na lang haha. will try to make a tagalog blog about this

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  6. A magical moment indeed. Great post.

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  7. What a inspirational post..you are a fantastic photographer and story teller..no submissiveness here..it's about seizing every opportunity with a willing heart and mind..much can be learnt from that..jae

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    1. thanks jae. i am not sure when will i leave japan so i am trying to go to different places and just enjoy every opportunity that comes my way.

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  8. Your pics and story are inspirational.....I am not an active sort, but I do so admire those who push through...

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    1. i am not that active too. it's my first climb - just got lucky that it's mt. fuji :-)

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  9. Gorgeous photographs! I'm a big Japan fan so this was an added treat on a Sunday.

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  10. where nature speaks....so nice!

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    1. when nature speaks.. we should listen too :-)

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  11. No matter the pain what you have done cannot be undone and that experience will live with you forever. Thank you for taking me with you in your words and pics.

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    1. thanks OE. mt. fuji gave me a remembrance, a wound on the knee

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  12. This is a nice write up. I have never known anyone who has climbed a mountain of prominence. I climbed 'domestic' mountains like around El Paso (Texas), New Hampshire, and Colorado, none of which were anywhere near being like Mt. Fuji.

    I like the way you sneaked our OSO prompt word in. Great!
    Oh yes, did you tour the Fuji Camera works while you were up there?
    ..
    Earlier Mr. Linky had a messy link for me, I am here,
    Jim's Little Photo and Poem Place
    ..

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    1. not sure about camera works though.

      the mountains you have mentioned are quite interesting too

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  13. grabe ganda...ay babalik ka pa, samahan mo kmi, hehehe ^_^

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    1. ay hindi na haha. ok na ako sa baba lol

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  14. Congrats on the climb! Love the photos! :)

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  15. Wow, awesome. I love the first and last photos. :)

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  16. First time here, thanks to Sunday Scribblings. I appreciated the narration, including your admissions of caution rather than the usual braggadocio. Your favorite photo was mine, too. This was a real Bucket List experience, I'd say. The pics of the sunrise were gorgeous. Doesn't make me want to attempt the climb, but I am in awe of those who do... with proper gear and guides, in groups. Well done, Totomai! Peace, Amy Barlow Liberatore
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/09/16/ocd-overwhelming-critical-demands/

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    1. Thanks Amy! yeah, it was my first climb and it was on the tallest mountain in japan lol

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  17. Nice article and good photos...........a great blog

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  18. Breathtaking photograph! To see it in person must have been a highlight of a lifetime! Goosebumps for you!

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    1. Thanks Kaibigan, yes, this is one my life's highlights already :-)

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  19. Great Photos! We will be climbing Mt Fuji AUgust 2014. We plan to camp at lake tanuki, is it easily accesible to transpo?

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    1. there's a bus station at shinjuku station. but i think you better make reservation as it's a peak season. we didn't camp before the climb though.

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any thoughts to distill?

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