Watching Sunrise From the Slopes of a Volcano, or How to Survive Mount Fuji With A Water Bottle, An Oxygen Aerosol, and A Snickers Bar

Just finished my travel journal entry for our Mount Fuji expedition! I’ll keep it at the journal pages for this post and update with the photos in an upcoming post.

Again, if you want to hazard my horrendous handwriting, feel free to read. Otherwise kick back and scroll!

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14 thoughts on “Watching Sunrise From the Slopes of a Volcano, or How to Survive Mount Fuji With A Water Bottle, An Oxygen Aerosol, and A Snickers Bar

  1. OMG Leslie & Marta how cruel the mountain, how horrible the climb, how exasperating the lack of O2 (oxygen), the wonder of the vastness of space at night, the Milky Way, the planets, the moon, and the morning sun shining like a Red Rubber Ball.
    Oh Cruel Mountain, the nausea, the fatigue, the inflated prices (for everything necessary), the mist, the cold, the heat, the pain, more fatigue, the on and on and on, endless stone, gravel, the worry, the anxiety, the adventure . . . . . .
    YUP that’s what it about sums it up travelling upwards then downwards. Oh Cruel Mountain !
    . . . but in the end, and I quote, ”Down is Nice”.

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      1. ah yur sweet to say so . . . . but loved reading your account of it and googling with all the points of departure, interest, trail, K’s Hostel and the warnings, recommondations, extra fees, pit stops, and $$$ purchases on the way up. The site helped me understand more about your travails up and down hill and dale.

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      2. Ah good! Yeah there were quite a few hidden costs. Luckily I held myself back on souvenirs aside from the walking stick (ultimately necessary) and a pin with the date I climbed engraved on it (I collect pins). I think Google Earthing it is a lot better than doing it the way I did…

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  2. I feel so bad for you that it wasn’t a better experience…but at least it WAS an experience. A tale to tell is always better than none. I had altitude sickness the second time I went up the Jungfraujoch in Switzerland. It was so unexpected since I was fine the first time years before. The only thing I could think of that would make such a difference is that the first time bad weather had moved in for a few days so the summits would be in clouds and there would be no view, and I was persuaded to wait it out before spending the money involved, in order to GET the view. I spent those days hiking on the Wetterhorn and other places. This probably acclimatized me pretty well, so that the greater heights did not affect me too badly, as opposed to the second time where I went up the day after arriving in Grindelwald. If you had had the chance of breaking in gradually to the height you might have enjoyed it so much more, though it would have meant a staying longer time and spending more money. It is amazing that you persevered…altitude sickness is devastating. You described it well…very debilitating. Extremely! Hats off to you for making it to the top…you should always be proud of this achievement despite the circumstances. I love the smile shared with the old woman. Moments like this are often the nicest memory we take away from an event. Big huge things going on all around, and a quiet connecting stands out as so sweet. Suicide Forest stands out. It clearly represents how many “pilgrims” feel about this hike 😀
    Get used to paying to pee (etc) because in Europe and the Middle East such is often the case. It used to be the norm in Montreal until a couple of decades ago. Free toilets are a luxury.
    I love the photos of the journal pages. Thanks to Leslie for being such a dear as to hold the journal open for you.
    I hope you used your other camera and not just the polaroid while on this journey!!! The polaroids are fun to paste in, but the digital pics would give more clarity…did you have it with you?
    (I also feel for how your muscles suffered…this hike would have needed some prepping in walks/climbs to build up the strength of shins and ankles. One always huffs and puffs going up…but the downs kill the knees and lower legs until you do it regularly…KILL them)
    I’m still a little freaked out at the no sleep despite booking a place to sleep!

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    1. Yeah that ended up being a frustrating waste of money…but hey. It happens. And I didn’t bring my camera – too big and heavy – but Leslie got some lovely shots that we’re sharing for joint memories. Will post those soon!

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      1. You mean booking the place to sleep was the waste of money…not the mountain adventure itself, right? Looking forward to the shared photos!

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      2. Yeah I don’t know how we ever thought we were getting back to the hostel in time to sleep…but at least we could sleep on their couch afterwards!

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    2. Oh and I couldn’t’ve acclimatized myself even if I’d had the time! Fuji is literally the only thing of that height around, which makes it all the more impressive. Nothing even half that height for as far as the eye can see from the summit.

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      1. Think of the hostel booking as at least you had a safe place to leave your things so you had less to carry, non?

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  3. Quick thoughts:

    I imagine your journal being like Indiana Jones’ father’s journal … rubber banded and all. I’ve always wanted to keep such a journal, but alas.

    In reading bcp’s comment which included a reference to Jungfraujoch, I’m partway through Humphrey Carpenter’s Tolkien biography (which you both may have read) and I was reminded that I’d underscored Tolkien’s comment, “I left the view of Jungfrau with deep regret …” because of a photo of that beautiful and majestic place bcp had posted some months ago. I found it quite wonderful that Tolkien and bcp shared the same love.

    Lastly, in looking for the Jungfrau reference I came across a note I’d made with your name and more underscores. In the bio an early poem of Tolkien’s is quoted. It’s called “Goblin Feet”. It begins:

    I am off down the road
    Where the fairy lanterns glowed …

    The way my brain works, I couldn’t help but think, here’s this poem that may well have led to “Down from the Door” which eventually in time found its way to the top of your blog.

    Or not.

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    1. That would be a really awesome evolution of thought and I’ll privately believe it to be true! Alas, I wish my journal was as great as the Great Mr. Jones Sr…I heartily accept the compliment though ^ ^ all excellent thoughts and musings, sir! I always enjoy your comments for that very reason.

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