Hike to Mt. Fuji

hakone-highway-snow-japanI could have taken the bus there, but this rather quite road was begging to be walked and it was only 7km to Lake Ashi and a view of Mt. Fuji.

smoked-salmon-pizza2Of course I needed some energy first, and my absolutely favorite lunch spot here was right on the way. Mmm smoked salmon pizza! I grabbed a pocket full of napkins just in case my stomach was not quite as pleased with the semi-raw fish as my mouth was (as was the case the previous day).

volcanic-gasses-warning-sign-owakudani-crater-japan1Normally, there’s a gondola line that goes from the town I’m staying in right to Lake Ashi. But it crosses over an active volcanic crater on the way which was acting up, so the ropeway was closed to tourists – the other reason I decided to walk there 😉

mineral-rich-volcanic-stream-water-hakone-japanThe water coming through the dams was kind of a milky colour.

owakudani-crater-volcanic-gas-vents-hakone-japanFound the culprit responsible for the gondola shutdown and the pervasive sulfur smell in the air.

owakudani-crater-volcanic-gasses-hot-springs-japanNoticed a trail leading through the trees that promised a closer look. There seemed to be just as many footprints coming down as went up, and I wasn’t downwind.

volcanic-gasses-warning-sign-owakudani-crater-japan2When I got back down via a different trail-head I noticed this one had a sign in English. Guess I wasn’t really supposed to go up there, but I have my H2S ticket so I know that as long as you can still smell rotten eggs it’s all good, once you don’t smell sulfur anymore (i.e. your olfactory nerves are fried) it’s not long before you get knocked down.

hakone-roadside-hotsprings-onsen-japan1Some steaming vents along the roadside.

hakone-roadside-hotsprings-onsen-japan2Some more hotsprings along the way.

hakone-road-jetstreamThat morning, I had been hearing periodic booms like thunder, that sounded alarmingly massive. I figured it was one of two things, either demolition charges from a large mine or a volcano acting up, but even the largest detonation patterns at the coal mine I’d worked at had nothing on these! And this seemed much to low to be a contrail.

owakudani-crater-entrance-guardedThe entrance to the Owakudani Crater was closed with a military-style guard pacing back and forth behind the gate.

mt-fuji-through-trees-hakoneAnd then Mt. Fuji presented herself to me through the trees for the first time. I’ll admit I was a little disappointed to find she hadn’t blown her top. But the sonic booming sporadically continued which had me not a little puzzled?

landon-road-snow-hakone-japanNothing to do but keep walking…

hakone-driveway-snowFound a hiking trail off the road to get a better vantage of the beautiful mountain I had traveled so far to see. Turns out the hiking trail was really a driveway! Hard to see it, but there’s a Japan-sized vehicle driving up it. When he first was approaching me, I thought for sure I was in trouble and was preparing the ol clueless touristo routine, but he just passed me by with a typical bow/nod.

mt-fuji-hakone-japan2Magnificent!

hakone-ropeway-gondola-mt-fuji-japanThe last leg of the gondola was operating down to Lake Ashi. My feet were sore so I bought a ticket.

Ok, so after posting this video to youtube for the trolls to solve, I decided to go for supper where I found the answer. My waitress spoke English rather well and after a few guesses, she conveyed to me the presence of Camp Fuji, a military training facility the lay directly between me and Mt. Fuji. All the geology along the way had no doubt preconditioned my initial interpretation of the explosions, that and living mainly in small town Canada.

Listen and laugh at a very confused me haha! The audio recording from my phone’s tiny microphone really doesn’t do them justice, but trust me those booms were massive!

Ok, so after posting this video to youtube for the trolls to solve, I decided to go for supper where I found the answer. My waitress spoke English rather well and after a few guesses, she conveyed to me the presence of Camp Fuji, a military training facility the lay directly between me and Mt. Fuji. All the geology along the way had no doubt preconditioned my initial interpretation of the explosions, that and living mainly in small town Canada.

Posted in Geology, Travel
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3 thoughts on “Hike to Mt. Fuji

  1. Tiara says

    Mt Fuji COOOLL!!!

    Reply
  2. Gerri Unrau says

    Thanks for the tour Landon. This is the only way I will ever get to see that beautiful sight.

    Reply
    1. lmutch says

      Of course, thanks for reading 🙂

      Reply

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