Mt. Fuji: Seeing God in the Mountains

30 Jul

I have a complete obsession with mountains. I am fairly certain this stems from growing up in the utterly flat prairie land that is Illinois. Even Wisconsin’s beautiful rolling hills captivate me. But mountains.

Oh, mountains.
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Ever since I went to Honduras in high school, I’ve always seen God in the mountains. They’re breathtakingly beautiful, impossibly tall, and impossibly there. How did they get there? Yes, on one level I understand the geology and what-not. But they’re just…there. And it’s wonderful. I can stand on one and look down and see the rest of creation, and it’s just a powerful experience. So going to Mt. Fuji, the tallest (and most iconic) mountain (volcano) in Japan, and now a UNESCO World Heritage site, was pretty amazing.

We haven’t been able to see Fujisan since we’ve been here. Summer means hazy here, and there is rarely a day when the distance isn’t obscured with clouds. Bummer. So we went there instead. But…it was still covered in clouds, even though we were only a few miles away from it.

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So then, we went there.
We took a bus up to the fifth station – one of several “bases” that climbers can start out from. You can climb the entire thing, but a lot of people choose to start about halfway up the mountain – it will still take about a day to climb to the top from the fifth station.
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We looked around here – there was a shrine, tons of gift shops, and great spots to see the summit. We picked a trail that wasn’t a main one to go up the mountain and it was absolutely beautiful.

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The trail was a widely varied terrain. I never really thought the mountain would be made of lava rocks…but duh, of course it is. It’s still deemed an active volcano, even though it hasn’t erupted since the 1700s.
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I was in the cloud!

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Tiny pine cones!

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All the branches were stretched away from the mountain.

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The summit doesn’t look too far away…but don’t let the skewed perspective fool you.

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This was really cool, but it wasn’t really put in to perspective until we got to our hotel on one of the five Fuji lakes. We stayed on Lake Kawaguchiko, the most developed of the five.
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This was the clearest view of the mountain we ever got. It was evening, and we looked out the window of our room and we were greeted with this beautiful, amazing view. We got so lucky to see this, since the next day the mountain was completely shrouded in clouds, even when we took a little trip out into the middle of the lake, where they say you can get a complete reflection. I was a bit bummed, but still so glad we got to see it. We were on that mountain! it’s incredible to think about it. It was definitely one of the best experiences we have had so far.

 

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