A few weeks ago, Peter and I hiked Mt. Fuji with our friends and IT WAS AWESOME! Words really can't describe the beauty and sheer magnitude of the hike, so instead of trying to articulate our adventure, this post will pretty much just be a whole bunch of pictures of us hiking up and from the top!
Here we are with our friends, Leisy and Kent Miller, at the 5th Station, which is where we started hiking from (it is possible to start hiking from the bottom, but not nearly as common, plus, it adds an extra 2+ hours).
The views all along the way were breathtaking. We had absolutely perfect, clear weather almost the whole way up, and then the clouds rolled in, which was still beautiful and exhilarating to realize that we were climbing high above them.
These pictures don't quite do the mountain justice, but it was very, very steep. Definitely the most taxing hike I've ever done! Mt. Fuji is 3776 meters, or 12,388 feet. From the 5th Station at 2300 meters (7545 ft), it took us just over 5 hours to reach the top. That's an ascent of 1476 meters (4842 ft)!
As we neared the top, we got somewhat held up by a large tour group! Between the 9th and 10th stations (the 10th is the summit), the climb is extremely steep and rugged, and the trail is only wide enough to go single file. Since we were stuck behind a large group, we were only able to take a step at a time and then wait. This stretch took us about a half hour longer than it would have if we didn't have to wait. Although, I'm not complaining too much since after each step I was able to catch my breath while I waited :)
Climbing the last few feet up through the torii gate that signified the end felt like such a huge accomplishment. It was almost unreal to realize that we had just climbed to the top of the iconic Mt. Fuji!
Once at the top, we couldn't stop taking pictures! The views were amazing and the feeling was incredible! We were on top of the world! Quite literally :)
Here's a view of the crater from the top--it was so crazy to be standing on top of a volcano!!!! Standing here looking over the edge really freaked me out actually.
After taking a bunch of photos, we got our wooden hiking stick stamped for the last time (we received a branded "stamp" at every station along the way) and then I was starving and needed food! So, we sat down and had some hot chocolate and I ate a bowl of hot curry rice! It tasted sooo good!
We spent a little more time checking out the top and making friends with some fellow climbers before we began our 3 hour hike back down the mountain (which was by far the worst part--our hiking poles really saved our knees on the descent!).
Hiking Mt. Fuji will definitely be one of our most memorable experiences from living in Japan! A once in a lifetime opportunity that I feel incredibly grateful to have had!