|Beautiful weather for the climb. Happy there was no rain this time!|
With a nice leisurely pace, many of us arrived at Fuji-San Hotel (the 8th Station) by 4pm. The hut where we were sleeping in was cozy. It was like having a big co-ed sleepover. There were two levels of bunks and people were to sleep right next to each other. Many people were resting as soon as they arrived to the hut, but others ordered food (curry, ramen, etc) and drink. The ramen and beer were a good treat after making it to the 8th Station. I was just happy I made it this far!!!
|The cozy sleeping quarters.|
So, at 1:30am, a number of us set out on the bulldozer trail. Man, was it cold but the view was one of the most spectacular sights I've ever seen in my life. You could see the city lights as far away as Tokyo. With one foot in front of the other, the thin air, the body slowly warming up, and a slew of others wanting to conquer the mountain, we managed to make it to the summit by 3:30am. I was beyond elated to see the torii gate before me!!
With a little less than two hours until sunrise, it was hard to stay warm. It was absolutely freezing. Luckily, they have vending machines, vendors that sell hot cocoa, and have warm food to pass the time. The shrine that stamps the walking sticks didn't open until 4am, so once we finished that, we walked around with hundreds of other people trying to find a good place to view the sunrise.
The sunrise was worth the climb. It was beautiful and you could see clouds hovering below. Once we got a peek at the crater, we decided to head down the mountain. Many people don't like the trek down, but the trekking poles were a tremendous help this time. I made it back to the 5th station in less than 3 hours. I was really enjoying myself and my accomplishment even though my camera battery died. I am relieved to have this climb behind me, and am grateful for the friendships I made along the way.