Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Friday 24th August, 201
Up by 5am to photograph the dawn then down in the onsen (with waterproof camera) by 5.15am but the onsen was packed so no photo opportunities. Who would have thought that it would be so busy so early in the day - especially when it had been so quiet at 6pm?
Finished addressing postcards to post on top of Mt Fuji and arranged transfers to the station after we do the Lake Ashi cruise. Fujisama is now hiding behind clouds and you would never even know there was a mountain there!
We went down the ropeway to the lake cruise. It was a different ship this time, the green one and had different pirate statues. There were lots of different boats on the lake, the pirate ships in varying shapes and colours, jet skis, fishing boats and speed boats. The funniest thing was near the ferry terminal at the other end of the lake. There were a heap of small boats with people fishing in them, stationary – actually anchored in the bay. The people were towed out by a speedboat, anchored to fish then towed back into shore.
We headed back to the hotel for our transfer to the station. This would have to have been the best idea of the day (and a service not widely publicised as most people drive to this onsen or take a tour bus). The next bus arrived a few minutes after we arrived and the transfer was smooth – hopefully  sign of things to come.
We arrived at Gotemba in good time and caught the bus to the 5th station – unfortunately not the one we were aiming for . we were at Subashi not Kawaguchiko. A nice girl at the information booth there helped cancel our accommodation on the other side of the mountain for tomorrow night and booked us some sleeping space in a lodge for tonight. We left our main packs at the Subashi 5th station mountain lodge and set off at 3.30pm.
The accommodation booking was good but meant we had a schedule to keep to or we missed out on the dinner we had ordered and had to pay for regardless. We walked 15 minutes and then had a 5 minute rest. This was as much to help us acclimatise as to keep us moving at a good pace and it worked well. We arrived at our accommodation an hour early (but only because my watch was playing up and had moved itself so it was running nearly an hour early). Fran had one fall and hurt her wrist a little but nothing serious. We bunked in what looked like a rustic style capsule hotel until about 11,15pm then got up, ate tea and headed off in the hope we would reach the summit by dawn. While we were sleeping the track had become quite busy and we woke to find about 100 people outside our accommodation all waiting to go up the mountain.

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