Monday, October 15, 2018

Elusive Mt. Fuji Part 6

Watching the sunrise at Mt Fuji wasn’t the end of our trek. The destination was reached but the journey was far from over. We still had to climb down 1700 mtr. This was a different challenge altogether. 
From the summit of Mt. Fuji to our dormitory was simple 45 minute descend. The same queue that ascended was descending. But the mood was quite different. There was no competition, no rush. There were smiling faces, laughters. Row of colourful jackets looked pleasing to the eye. We reached the dormitory and had our breakfast. 6 AM. Little did we know that there was another challenge waiting for us.
We packed and checked out of the dormitory. 7 AM. Wondering if there would be any other place whose check out time was 7 AM.
By now the sun had started beating down. It was quite warm. Being a volcanic mountain, the top of Mt Fuji is quite barren, there are hardly any trees or any shade. But that wasn’t the biggest challenge. The biggest challenge was the slippery slopes. Its famous as sand run in Japan. Basically its a very steep slope with gravel, small pebbles and sandy soil in different proportions. This makes the slopes very slippery and dangerous. The possibility of slipping and falling down exists at every step.
Initially, I was very careful. Making sure my trekking pole is nicely placed, making sure I was getting tight grip for every step, determined not to slip and fall. But later, I saw some trekkers literally running down the slopes. They were not scared of slipping and falling. In fact, they were using slipping down the slope to their advantage to cover some distance. Instead of controlling the slipping, they were anticipating and allowing the slipping and moving down very fast. They seemed to enjoy it too. After a bit, I threw caution to the wind and I tried that technique too. After a bit of trial and error, I started enjoying that too. I was coming down much faster and had lot of fun. Sure enough I was slipping and falling but was getting up with a smile and doing it all over again.
My Vonfucius mind said - your glory is not in worrying about the fall but to get up every time you fall with a smile.
We took long stops, refreshed ourselves with drinks, clicked pictures. With this worry-free technique descend was fun. Before we knew we were in the bus that took us back to parking lot.
It was exactly 24 hours since we started our ascend. Out of those 24 hours we were trekking for almost 16-18 hours. We were carrying a back pack which was nearly 5 kg. The meals were paltry and basic to say the least. We were at the mercy of weather, for some time we felt hot, for rest of the time we shivered. The beds we slept were so narrow that you couldn’t move your hands without touching your neighbour. In short, we went thru all the hardships we could in last 24 hours.
Yet when we got into the car we said - The fun is over, we have to go back to grind till next time buddy!
So here we are back to the grind of air conditioned offices, swanky cars, plush sofas, flat screen TVs and high speed internet, pining for next escape to the mountains!
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