Monday, December 8, 2014

Mt. Fuji: Honeymoon Hike

We rang in our first anniversary in July by watching the sun rise from the summit of Mt. Fuji. It was romantic, unforgettable... and grueling. In order to enjoy the view from the top we spent a long, sleepless night hiking to get there.

We hiked for 7 hours, from 8:30pm to 3:30am, gaining nearly 5,000 feet in altitude over a distance of just about 3.7 miles. I could attempt to put the incline in perspective in various ways, but suffice it to say it was so steep that it took us 7 hours to walk less than 4 miles!

Smiling at 12,380 feet above sea level as day breaks. 

The whole experience was more akin to a pilgrimage than a hike in the great outdoors. The trail, especially in the first few hours, pulsed with individual hikers and tour groups; however, the vibe was serene, spiritual and reverent. The tour groups (many composed of elderly Japanese) were headed by dedicated leaders who periodically called out to their respective flocks to provide energy and unity of purpose. At points the path bulged with such a volume of people that it was impossible to pass; however, as the night wore on and the crowds stretched out, there were also a series of peaceful, empty stretches where we spent the better part of our seven hours.

Vince looking into the crater of Mt. Fuji, an active volcano and the tallest mountain in Japan. 

The view was worth it; the feeling of exhausted accomplishment was worth it, and so too was the memory. Now, when we see Mt. Fuji, we exchange knowing and somewhat incredulous smiles recalling the laughs, grumbles and sense of awe we shared as we celebrated our first year of marriage --  "we climbed that thing!"

We were also accompanied by a very small dinosaur given to us
at our wedding reception in Sweden by a relative who delivered a lovely speech
as the toast master of our reception at Angavallen. Thank you, Adja!

Mt. Fuji from a distance, taken earlier in the year. 

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