03 June 2010

impossible view

Today we climbed Mt. Fuji. Well, most of us at least.

The weather was brilliant and I was more excited than ever to make the climb. I’ve never climbed a mountain before and this was the chance of a lifetime. I was as prepared as I could ever be and confident that I could tackle the task ahead.

The first couple of hours were tough as I was getting used to the pace, but after a while it got much easier. We were telling stories and cracking jokes and having a great time. I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend my time in Japan.

When we were a little over halfway up and the climb started to get rough, I jokingly mentioned to Catie that I wouldn’t carry her down the mountain if she got hurt. Of course, as soon as these words left my mouth, I tripped. At first it didn’t hurt. At first I felt fine. But it soon became obvious that I was in no condition to be climbing any more. My ankle started to swell and turn colors.

Uhhh…. This isn’t good…

Catie whips out her cell phone. “Okay, awesome. Now, who can we call?” After about ten minutes of frantic button pushing, she managed to get someone on the line. “Alright. Good news is some one is on their way. Bad news is I don’t know how long it’s going to take.”

Okay. I can handle this. It can’t be that long, right? By this time my ankle was roughly the size of a melon and hurting like hell. Catie looks panicked. She’s probably worried about the University’s reaction to one of their students getting stranded on a mountain. It really wasn’t her fault though; I’m just clumsy sometimes, honestly.

I hear something coming. It sounds big. “Is that what I think it is?” Catie looked over at me with a face of mild disbelief. “It sounds kind of like a ….” Just as she was about to say the word ‘helicopter’, one came flying out from the clouds and landed on the clearing just below us.

Well. That was quick.

We’re soon surrounded by a team of well-trained Japanese rescue ninjas (not kidding, they looked like ninjas), and I was loaded onto the helicopter, complete with stretcher and neck brace (even though there was nothing wrong with my neck. Apparently it’s protocol).

As we fly through the mist, we catch a glimpse of the crater. From this height, the mountain and the surrounding valley look incredible. The dense trees, the lakes, the developed areas all look like patches on a giant quilt. I manage to snap a couple of photos before we get enveloped in the clouds again. As I’m looking at them now, they’re a little fuzzy, but definitely my favorites of the trip so far.

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