Tag Archives: hiking

Celebratory Chevon

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Last Sunday I hiked through the rainforest of Makiling. Along the trail, I made use of an outhouse toilet at the back of a shack that sells coconuts to hikers. While waiting for my turn, I saw a slaughtered goat waiting to be immersed in a scalding water for dehairing. Then I heard people talking indoors and I’ve come to understand that the kambing is for somebody’s birthday.

Fujisan Trek: Descending Trail

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The descending trail is mostly volcanic soil

While it was easy climbing up, going down was taxing to my toes and legs. Had to use my leg muscles for braking most of the time or else I would feel like I’ll lose my footing on the steep slope. I guess it was mostly psychological. The Yoshida descending route is different from the ascending one, tiring but the view was better.

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Descending can be slippery

At past 8 AM, it was hot that I was down to my shirt and pants though I’ve put on REI gaiters to keep the volcanic soil from entering my trail running shoes. The trail is mostly loose volcanic soil with no huts along the route and with occasional mountain crawler encounter. Thoughts of coming back and bringing my daughter to this volcano were on my mind while descending because really, the trek was such a beautiful experience.

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The view of the clouds below

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One of the trail markers along Yoshida descending trail

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Hikers descending and resting

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Trail marker

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If that little girl can hike Mt Fuji, then so can you

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An emergency shelter for bad weather or eruption

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Trail marker. Still a long way to go down

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I imagine it would be fun and scary to just slide all the way down

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The sparse vegetation up there

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Finally reaching the 5th station

Fujisan Trek: At 3776 Meters

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Sitting at Mount Fuji’s summit

Our very slow dark hike from the 9th station hut towards Mount Fuji summit started around 2:30 AM, more than enough time to be there just before sunrise. It was slow-moving because of the long single file of hundreds (perhaps thousands) of hikers going up. A modern pilgrimage of sun-worshippers. The slowness didn’t bother me, in fact it was truly an experience to witness so many Japanese people climbing the mountain they consider sacred, and then to wait patiently in the cold for the sunrise – their goal.

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Japan’s rising sun

After the heartfelt rising of the sun moment, one can walk around and see very clearly at daylight the crater of this active volcano, plus the heavenly ‘above the clouds’ view at 3,776 meter altitude. Ha! I’ll never forget Mount Fuji’s altitude number because one shop in Kawaguchiko sells this Mount Fuji t-shirt with 3776 visibly printed in front, though it’s not because of this, the fact that it cost 3,776 yen stamped the number on my mind like the stamping of climbing sticks.

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Suspense before the sunrise

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Sun worshippers

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Plenty of hikers

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Where one can buy hot beverage while waiting for the sunrise

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Vending machine at the summit — only in Japan

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Shelter at the summit where one can sit to defrost but you must buy hot meal such as curry rice or ramen

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Beyond those ropes in the crater of Mount Fuji

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Another snapshot of the crater yonder

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Torii gate just before entering the temple at the summit

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Having my stick (1/3 size of the climbing stick) stamped at the temple in the summit for sentimental purposes

Fujisan Trek: Ascending Trail

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Wide trail at the start. Can be shared with horses

It was a foggy Friday past noon in the ascending Yoshida trail with temperatures ranging between 10°C and 15°C and where it rained in some parts.  The hike was rather pleasant and easy. Uphill is usually undemanding for me. My backpack was small, the one used for adventure racing with just enough space for a 1.5L hydration bladder and change of clothes. I could even run up on the trail but don’t want to spoil the beauty of mountain hiking where one can take in more of the surroundings when going up (or down) than in mountain running. Running makes me focus more on my feet because of uneven terrain, else the risk of tripping when not looking down.

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A shelter for bad weather, erosion, or eruption

Loose small rocks and volcanic sand comprised the first part of the trek from the 5th station. In one segment towards the 9th station, it was stair-like, steep and rocky. The higher you go, the windier and colder it becomes. Took 4 leisurely hours with ample time to pee expensively (200 yen) and rest in shelters along the way for high altitude acclimatization until we reached our hut at the 9th station, our pit stop for the night before continuing the next day to the summit.

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To those who haven’t ‘donated’ ¥1000 yet, there’s a donation table here at the 6th station

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Hikers resting, some were eating. This is still early part of the hike

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Hikers on the trail. Using trekking poles is a good idea. See the erosion barrier on the slope?

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This plant with clusters of tiny white flowers is common in Mt Fuji

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Not too easy for those with big packs

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One of the huts along the trail

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Looking up. More huts up there. Each hut somewhat serves as a hiking milestone

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Looking down this time. See those huts and hikers below.

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Stairway on the trail

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Stairway and wire mesh baskets for soil erosion protection

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A closer look of the wire mesh baskets securing rocks and soil on the mountainside of the trail

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Sign pointing to Mt Fuji summit

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Rocks were placed on the roof of this hut to secure it from strong winds

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9th station at last. No more fog because we’re above the clouds

Fujisan Trek: Readying

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Ample information provided by Japan that there’s no need to hire a guide to climb Mount Fuji

When Gerard, my classmate in high school, told me stories about his Mount Fuji hike, I was intrigued that the idea of doing it myself has been on my mind since 2013. I’d be a fool not to climb Mount Fuji.

So in this year’s climbing season I got to hike (finally) and saw Japan’s rising sun from the summit. It was incredibly brilliant, and as beautiful as the sunrise of Mount Pulag.

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Challenge poster

Prior to the actual hike, here are some snapshots related to readying not just for me but as observed around me mostly right before the climb that commenced at the 5th Station of the Yoshida trail.

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Donation of at least ¥1000 for the preservation of Mount Fuji as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Advice book in exchange for donation. Very handy information inside. If only I got hold of this days before the climb and not on the day itself

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No doubt we’re in Japan. See the mascot yonder?…

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Climbing sticks

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Soba with plenty of local summer vegetables from a restaurant at the 5th station

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Start of the trail at the 5th station…more on Fujisan trails in future post(s)

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