Call me crazy, but as hiking season was upon us, I heard the beckoning of Mt. Fuji again. This time though, I wanted to hike without the girls. I wanted to spend the day with Matt, enjoying his company and the mountain without mothering anyone.
This picture makes Mt. Fuji look like a hill!
We had initially planned to hike a different trail (there are 5 of them), but after driving around the town for 30 minutes, with no luck finding parking, we cut our losses and headed back to Yoshida Trail, the same one we hiked last year, and the most popular.
I must say, the third time's the charm, as far as weather goes. It was the day that I had always dreamt of. You could even see the lakes surrounding the volcano. There are five lakes in the area, and I think we saw three of them. ( Also, the lake water is actually very warm, due to the volcanic activity underneath. Perfect for swimming!)
Resting at the 6th station.
I can't rave enough about the weather. It was perfect in every way, there wasn't even wind. Just a lovely light breeze.
I didn't know the sun actually shines on Mt. Fuji!
Made it to the torii gate, at the ninth station. We both felt great the entire day, and were not affected by the altitude at all. It's always so fun to chat with other hikers, as well.
You'll often see people just laying by the side of the trail asleep. But, these two were SO close to the top. I can't imagine stopping within 10 minutes of the top, to take a nap. But, at 3,776 meters, the altitude can be very difficult for lots of people.
The final ascent!
We found that we preferred not to sit down on our breaks, because it was harder to get going again once your muscles set up a bit.
Victory! And the ubiquitous photo op at the top!
(This was all of us last year. See any difference in the weather?)
On top of the world, or at least Japan!
At the summit, there is a small town, and lots of hikers hanging out, eating and resting. There is also a great sense of unspoken camaraderie amongst hikers at the summit.
(I didn't take my hiking stick this year, because after hiking twice last year, there was no more room for stamps. But I did buy a new summit flag, stamped with the date, to add to my stick.)
We actually saw the crater this time!
Just, a big hole filled with rocks. Mt. Fuji is very much an active volcano, and scientists are predicting an eruption within the next 5 years. Praying that happens on the off-season!
Such a breathtaking view from the top. I FINALLY had a VIEW! I am very sad that the girls missed out on this view, and also, seeing the crater. It was so misty last year we didn't see anything. They will have to return as adults, and hike it again!
We shaved SO much time off of our hike, without the girls. We made it up in 5 hours and down in 2, and spent about 30 minutes at the top, for a total time of 7.5 hours, round trip. (We had an 11 hour round trip with the girls.)
The hike down was like walking through the clouds, literally!
The absence of adversity sure doesn't make for an interesting story, but I felt lighter in mind, body and spirit this trip. It was such a wonderful day hanging out with Matt, and not worrying about the girls. And the Lord delivered the most perfect day! So, since this day could not be improved upon in any way, I can officially retire from climbing Mt. Fuji.......maybe.