Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fuji the 4th

They say:
You have to do it once.
If you do it twice, you're an idiot.
The third time, you're a professional.

I guess the fourth time makes us either overachievers or gluttons for punishment.

Probably both.

It's awful and no fun and I don't know why we've done it almost every year we've been here. It's a long and difficult day. How long and how difficult, you ask? Join me on our journey.

3am: leave the house

4am: Oh good, it's starting to rain.

4:15am: Expressway rest stop a bathroom break and bonus creepiness.

Your guess is as good as mine.
Best rest stop bathrooms ever. One, there's a map and that amuses me more than it should. (This may not be true for the mens' bathroom.)

Two, it looks like a spaceship. It's clean, the stalls include shelves for bags, a hook for the umbrella, a sanitizer gel dispenser for cleaning the seat, and they're the fancy toilets with washlets (toilet with robot friend).

Plus changing rooms and vanity areas for touching up makeup.

5am: Still raining, and we're almost at the parking lot to get the bus.

6am: on the bus to Station 5, halfway up the mountain. It might sound like cheating, but this is one of the more common places to start, and if we started any lower we wouldn't be able to do it all in a single day.

6:45am: Here we go.
7am: Station 6

8am: Get the time wrong, but check in with a video to better capture the experience.

8:45am: Check in again, everything is soggy.

9:15am: We climbed above the cloud!

10:00am: Not raining, but the climb still sucks.

10:30am: We found winter.

11:00am: More rain.

12:00pm: Summit!

12:15pm: Getting the heck off the mountain. Unfortunately, the little booth that usually sells the walking stick brands and the little wooden doodads to go on the top of the walking sticks was closed.

1:00pm: Descent, between stations 9 and 8.

2:00pm: Weather's better, but I'd really like dry clothes and some mulled wine.

I stopped briefly just before station 5 for the restroom and saw this informative diagram of how the system works...
 ...and the friendliest donation box.

3:00pm: Back at Station 5!

Since I couldn't get another wooden victory doodad at the summit, I got a keychain to commemorate today's victory.

4:00pm: About half of our group was ahead of me, so I met up with them to wait for the others.

5:00pm: I found a beetle on my walking stick. I named it Patrick and put it on some plants in the parking lot. (My hands are stained by the dye from my gloves coming off during the rain) Shortly after this, we started driving home.

6:00pm: Driving home.

7:00pm: Still driving home.

8:00pm: Mulling wine. (using this recipe)

9:00pm: Mission accomplished! Mulled wine and relaxing on the couch. We felt like we earned it.

We actually made better time this year than in previous years, but the weather wasn't as good. I guess it all evens out.

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