This is the Schneider-Farris Family's Blog. Keep up with what we are doing by logging into this site regularly! (The reason this site is called "Tragedy and Triumph" is that when I first founded this site, my husband, Dan, had been in a horrible accident, and he recovered. His recovery was a miracle! Go back to the 2005 archives to read our story.)

Friday, August 03, 2018

Rebekah and JO ANN Climbed Mt. Fuji! 7/30--31/2018

Yes!  You read this daughter and I climbed Mt. Fuji!  One of the reasons I decided to go to Japan to visit Rebekah was to do that.

Here's how this amazing accomplishment came about:

When my son Joel climbed Mt. Fuji with the Disney On Ice Frozen cast in 2016, he returned with an incredible walking stick that showed off his amazing adventure of climbing Mt. Fuji.  Until then, I had no idea how incredible an accomplishment that was, but I wanted to find out what Joel had done, so I began watching YouTube videos about Mt. Fuji and I read about Mt. Fuji on various websites.  I was completed intrigued,  so I decided someday I would go to Japan and climb Mt. Fuji!  I've done other things that seemed similar like climbing up mountains and skiing down or hiking up mountains and scootering down, so I thought, "Why not, Mt. Fuji?"

So...when Rebekah found out that she'd been hired by Disney On Ice and was going to Japan, she and I began talking about me visiting her in Japan during the week the cast would climb Mt. Fuji.  I began looking for flights and Rebekah asked her show's Tour Coordinator about getting me accommodations at the same hotel as the cast.

I finally contacted Omega travel, the travel agency that Disney On Ice uses to arrange flights for their cast and crew and employees, and they were so helpful and got me an amazing price for a trip to Japan!  And...once I purchased the ticket and knew I was officially going, Rebekah reserved and paid for my trip on the charter bus to Mt. Fuji. (She also got me a ticket to see her perform in the show.)

Anyway...enough of the planning.....on to a summary of our Mt. Fuji experience and adventure!

We boarded a Charter bus from the Cypress Garden Hotel where Rebekah and the cast and I were staying in Nagoya, Japan at 11:45 am on Monday morning 7/30/18.  The night before, Rebekah and I packed our backpacks with things we needed to take with us.  Some of those things included warm and water resistant clothing we could layer on ourselves, a rain poncho, gloves, hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray, water bottles, headlamps, and food.

The Disney On Ice Cast and Crew Before We Climbed Mt. Fuji 7/30/18

It took about 5.25 hours for the bus to take us to Mt. Fuji.  The trip was so wonderful though.  The bus was air conditioned and even had a charging outlet for our phones!  As we traveled we saw this beautiful and green Japan scenery.  We also saw Japanese style houses and cars.

We arrived at 5:00 pm at the Mt. Fuji 5th Station and it didn't take long for everyone to get their things together and get off the bus.  Everyone was so excited, but also a bit nervous.

The first thing we did was purchase walking sticks with flags at the gift shop and used the restroom.  Then, off we went...

We were stopped by a group asking for donations for the preservation of Mt. Fuji, and of course we donated and were given a  memory token and a guidebook to Mt. Fuji.

We took the Yoshida trail up, which started at the Fifth Station at Kawaguchiko, about 7,500 feet above sea level.

As Rebekah and I began our hike, we were in wonderful spirits and so happy to be really doing the adventure we both only dreamed of.  Our dream was about to become a reality!  We talked about how we would always remember this special time together.

The lower area of the volcano is lined with trees just like some of the hikes we've gone on together at home in Colorado.  It was wonderful to spend time just talking to my daughter!

It was still light when we reached the 6th Station which was about an hour later.  We were just so happy taking our time and enjoyed the experience.  The hike to that station was an easy hike.  There were a lot of people at that station.  I imagine some hikers just hike to the 6th Station and then go back to their cars or buses.

It took another hour or two to reach the 7th Station.  The hike to the 7th station was much more difficult since we had to climb up rocky terrain.  It was quite a challenge for me, but Rebekah helped and guided me.

By the time we reached that station is was getting dark, but when we left it was dark.  There, we stopped for a bathroom break.  There are pay toilets at each station which cost about 200 Yen ($2.00) to use.  We also made sure our headlamps were on as we continued our hike.

We should have ate something at the 7th Station, but I was determined to get closer to the hut we reserved which was near the top of the 8th station and then eat.  (If we knew how long it would take to get to the hut, we would have definitely ate something then.)

The climb became increasingly more and more difficult as we continued to climb.  The trail was lit us by a trail of headlamps.  There seemed to be hundreds of hikers going up that mountain.  Sometimes it was like bumper to bumper traffic as we waited in a line to climb.

At one point the climb became very difficult and a guy from France literally hoisted me up step by step as Rebekah pushed me up!  When we got to that particular part of the 8th Station, we celebrated what seemed like an impossible climb.  There we took a good time to rest and continued up and up.

It was around 1:30 am when we reached our hut.  After checking in, the attendant in charge gave us a bag for our shoes and escorted us to our bunk.  It was 2:00 am by then and Rebekah and I tried to sleep on top of the provided sleeping bags that was laid out for us on a Japanese style mat that came with an attached pillow.

At 4:00 am, Rebekah and I left the hut.  We got our walking sticks stamped and headed onward and upward.

The walking sticks were stamped at each checkpoint as we ascended up the mountain. The stamps are so beautiful!

As we began ascending, the sun began to rise, so we were able to stop using our headlamps and see the most spectacular sunrise ever.  We were really above the clouds and the clouds looked like a beautiful sea of foam!

Finally, around 6:15 am, we reached the summit and got our walking sticks stamped to prove we made it.  Before leaving, Rebekah got herself some coffee and then we headed even higher to check out the crater.

We would have stayed up there longer, but we had a bus to catch waiting for us at the bottom of the mountain, so at 7:20 am, we began our descent.

The descent down is a trail that switch back and forth, but it is very rocky and sometimes slippering. It took us about five and a half to get down.

It would have probably taken longer than five and a half hours for us to make it down, but when we learned that the bus would leave without us at 1:30 pm, Rebekah took my hand and helped me move down those rocky switch backs with some extra speed.  In addition, a crew member and a cast member connected with us on the way down since by accident they had descended on the wrong path and had been forced to climb back up and go down again.  The kind crew member carried my backpack for me which helped me get down at a decent speed.

We  returned to the bus at 12:45 pm.  As soon as we got on that bus we pulled off our shoes and collapsed.   (I didn't know it until I took off my shoes and socks, but wow, did I have a lot of blisters and my feet and ankles were really swollen)

The bus left Mt. Fuji at 1:00 pm.

As the bus drove us back to Nagoya, we slept and also thought about what we had accomplished.  I don't think I will ever hike up Mt. Fuji again, but I'm glad Rebekah and I did it!

These shoes are the shoes I wore to climb Mt. Fuji!

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Jo Ann Schneider Farris has participated in skating for most of her life as a competitor, coach, and author.