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Happily Ever After

Climbing Fuji-san : The Way Down

JAPAN | Wednesday, 21 July 2010 | Views [773]

To pick up where we left off: and just when our exhausted legs, knees, feet, and well, you get the point- thought they couldn't go any farther, we got to climb all the way back down.  Due to a trail being closed because of snow, we climbed part of the way back down the same way we had come.  Yes, it was a bit demoralizing.  So was being exhausted, looking down the side of the mountain at this:

and realizing that once again, what you perceived as the "bottom" wasn't near the true "bottom."

But, for the most part, the way down was easier than the climb up.  For the most part.  We did our fair share of slipping and sliding.  I found it ironic that my memory of my first time climbing Fuji-san was of the climb up being relatively easy, but I clearly remember thinking I'd rather climb up the mountain twice more than continue sliding down it.  Not so this time.  I was very ready to slide down the loose gravel trail.

Still above the cloud line.  Are we there yet?  :)

Loooooong switchback....  When you want off the mountain, intellectually you know the switchbacks are necessary, but boy-oh-boy does just sliding down the side of the mountain in a straight line look appealing.

I loved that this plant seemingly appeared out of nowhere on the side of the trail.

Did I mention that the whole time we climbed up and down Fuji-san, we were passed by runners?  Yup, you read that right - runners.  While I was exhausted and struggling to put one foot in front of the other, runners carrying only CamelBacks would happily run past me.  I just shook my head in wonder (and maybe a bit in disgust at certain times) - they certainly are a different breed.

There were two tunnels we had to take on our way down to help avoid falling rocks.

They don't look very inviting, but at least they're out of the sun and out of the way of stray rock slides.

And of course, they were stairs.  I might add, by this point, my knee was swollen despite the knee brace and very unhappy with me.  My ultra-cool walking stick earned its keep helping me down the sliding switchbacks and these stairs.

Brandon snapped what we affectionately call a "Melissa shot."  My cousin is an artist and it comes across in her photography, as well.  When we were in Italy with her last year, she taught us to look for natural framing shots.  The cement supports and dark ground formed a natural frame for the beautiful scenery in the distance.

Our parting shot from Fuji-san: a look over Brandon's shoulder at the crazy runners coming down after us.  Like I said, they're a different breed.

Fuji-san, we're pleased to have met you.  Thank you for sharing the day with us.  Between exhaustion and oxygen deprivation, we think this may have been the most grueling and intense day of our lives, but nonetheless, it was an adventure and an experience we shared together.  And we love our ultra-cool walking sticks.  Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing.  In other words, Fuji-san, you were glorious and beautiful, but never again.  Never ever again.

---Arielle

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