>Port Call: Climbing Mount Fuji

>Victoria Lusardi – Mount Fuji Hike

I woke up before the sun had even risen and got ready to go. I was so tired because I had had duty the day before and I didn’t think I was going to be able o make it to the pier let alone up a mountain, but I rousted myself out of bed and got ready to go.

I met the rest of the group down on the pier where we boarded the bus. I was still pretty tired still so I fell asleep on the bus and the two-hour ride went by pretty quickly.

When we finally got there and I stepped outside it was so cold I said to myself, “I’m not doing this,” but once we started going toward the trail and I warmed up a bit, I started getting pretty excited.

We started the hike at six-thirty and the first part of the trail was cool and shady under the cover of the tall trees that covered the base of the mountain. There were shrines and statues along the trail nestled in between the trunks and under the bows of the forest.

I was awed at the serenity and the beauty of the forest. I felt more in touch with the culture and began to understand the cultural relevance of this place. It felt almost religious, like it was really important to be there.

Very soon we hiked above the tree line and the shade was gone. Instead we were bathed in warm sunlight, but the air was cooler in the higher altitude and the trail began to get icy. As we continued to hike farther up the mountain we rose above the cloud level. When I looked down all I could see was wide swatches of white clouds and darker green swaths of the lands below. When I looked up all I could see was a pile of rocks leading up to the top of the mountain, which still seemed so far away.

The air started to get thinner and walking up the trail began to get harder. The entire group had broken up into smaller groups that went at their own pace. I paired up with Miss Durbin and we made our own slow way to the top.

We stopped frequently to rest in the thin atmosphere and take pictures. After six hours of hiking we finally made it to the top.

At the top was a tall archway like a door, flanked by two large lion statues. At the base of the archway were piles of coins and money left as offerings at the gate.

The top of the mountain was a large crater left over from when Mount Fuji was an active volcano. The view was amazing and it seemed I could see all of Japan spread out before me. I could see the hills and valleys and all the little towns and villages where people lived. I could see all the way to the ocean and I began to really appreciate that this was the highest point in all of Japan.

The climb down was harder after the climb up but at the end of the day I felt really good about reaching the top and being able to see the things I had seen.

I felt like I had really accomplished something.