Monday, July 19, 2010

Lucky 13

We reached the trailhead at 11:00 p.m. I was struck by the loud, large generators at the bottom. Later, I would learn they powered vending machines. I was ready to go to sleep. Groups of young hikers with flashlights encouraged each other with unison shouts of "gambatte!" before heading up the trail. Even at night, I was still broiling hot in my jeans and it didn't seem possible it would be cool anywhere, even on a mountain top. The sky was clear and I saw shooting stars. I picked up a brochure that I couldn't resist including in my novel.

From American Fuji, ch. 38: "The map was half in English, half in Japanese. Mount Fuji was divided into ten levels, or stations. The parking lot was at the fifth level; Alex had already accomplished half the ascent in the taxi. Only foot traffic could continue through the higher stations on the Fujinomiya Trails. The map included stations labeled "Station 9.5" and "New Checkpoint," that augmented the original stations, so the 3,776-meter summit was the 13th actual station, though it was called the tenth."* This makes sense when you're in Japan.

The 13 stations gave me the idea of doing 13 blogs about climbing Mt. Fuji. Anyway, 13 has always been a lucky number for me.

*Quoted with minor snips by permission from myself.

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