Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"I'm SO Tired . . ."

I have no photos from this part--the hardest part--of the climb. It was dark and we were all busy paying attention to feet and flashlights. The trail was easy at the bottom and grew steeper as I grew more tired. Once I was beyond the generators, the only sounds came from other hikers: no animals, no birds. Soon, there were no plants. I was glad I had brought water; the vending machines at the stations sold only soft drinks and beer, which astonished me. (Both that there were vending machines on a mountain, a sacred Shinto shrine, and that they didn't dispense water.)

From American Fuji, Ch. 38: "The path . . . became a 45 degree angle switchback. To the right, up, up, climbing rocks and pseudo-steps, then to the left, up, up, on a slippery gravel grade. Again, to the right. Some stretches of path had ropes on metal posts, but other sections had nothing to keep someone from sliding off a sheer cliff." "[Alex] saw only the bobbing light from his flashlight, his tennis shoes, pumice, granite, and, when he paused to look up, the sky. More clouds crowded out the stars."

The hike became more arduous, requiring me to find footholds in large rocks (in the dark at 2:00 AM). It got cold and started to drizzle and I began to slip here and there, dizzy from altitude and fatigue. I was only at Station 7. As Eguchi would say, it was "a long and winding road."

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