5/18/2012

The Eclipse: Departure

As mentioned earlier this week, I will be watching the first Full Annular Eclipse in nearly from 40 years from the peak of Mount Fuji. Due to the season, the weather conditions are anything but inviting. It's currently around the low twenties on the summit. Regardless, my itinerary is as follows:

Saturday, May 19th
Ballroom Rehearsal- 14:00 to 16:00
Yes, I am delaying my departure, to climb a mountain, in order to Samba. You will find no shame here.

Shinkansen (新幹線) Reservation:
Sendai to Tokyo- 17: 26 to 17:08. Let me put this in perspective for you. That's over 230 miles in an hour and a half. If you need a further frame of reference, it takes 5 hours to drive the same distance on their Expressway, that has barely any on or off ramps (trust me, I know). Its name suites it; it's a bullet train.

Other Goals:
Locate or make a pair of Eclipse Glasses.

Sunday, May 20th

Train and Bus to Fuji Sengen Shrine:

The mountain is divided into nine stations. Station 5 is the highest that the trains or buses go, and a lot of people use that as their starting point.
I'm opting for the Traditional Climb. It starts at the Fuji Shengen Shrine and makes it's way up to the 5th station, before it heads to the summit. The beginning part of the walk, as you can see, is through forest.
The north most part of the woods is called The Aokigarah (青木ヶ原) or The Sea of Trees. Anywhere from 50 to 100 suicides occur a year there. It has the highest suicide rate of any place in Japan. People literally drive there specificlly to commit suicide. It apparently looks really pretty when you climb the mountain though...

Sato-goya Mountain Hut:
This is the only year round mountain hut on Fuji, but it has a capacity for 100 guests. The have no website, and I'm not to keen on reservations. So, I'll just be stopping in. Worst comes to worst, I'll snuggle up with one of the Panasonic guys for a few hours.

Other Goals:
Avoid hypothermia.

Monday, May 21st

Wake Up and Hate Myself- 03:00
I have a head-lamp and three extra sets of batteries. I am summiting that mountain and watching that sun come up.

Summit and Watch the Sunrise- 04:35
Yes, please.

The Eclipse:
Start- 06:19
Max- 07:32
End- 08:59

Other Goals:
Still, avoid that hypothermia.

Ok, so maybe summiting Mt. Fuji was always on the to do list, but watching a full solar eclipse from the highest point in Japan, I just couldn't resits. The other really cool thing, there will barely be anyone else on the trail. Had I waited for the official climbing season though, there would be eight-hundred to a thousand short-legged Japanese climbers in my way. No thank you.
Also in my favor is the weather. The forecast looks, well, pretty good. Winds between 5-10 mph, only "some snow", and highs in the upper 20's. Japan, being the lover all things bureaucratic and paper work, mandated that I fill out an off-season climbers form. Look out, Fuji. Nemo's Travels, party of one, headed your way.


How does this little adventure sound? Let me know in a comment below
And if you're looking to get out there and travel yourself, check out my upcoming book on KICKSTARTER, The Hitchhiker's Guide to: Earth.

Source: WikipediaPanasonicSnow ForecastFujiyoshido Winter Climbing


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