With exhaustion setting in, all that was on my mind was getting down the mountain, getting on a bus and going to the hostel to sleep. I considered running down the face of Mount Fuji, as the quickest means of reaching Station Five!
There was still more than 1700 m to descend
At the summit, we were 3720m above sea level. The bus would be able to take us from Fifth Station on the Subaru Trail, around 2000m altitude. So there was still more than 1700 m to descend.
Of course, you cannot just descend 1700m in a straight line! You would pick up so much speed and likely cause an avalanche of volcanic rock behind you…
The road made an agonising zig zag across the face of the mountain. At first the zigs were long and the zags even longer.
I had never been so happy to see civilisation.
At the crossroad we needed to take the yellow trail down (we took the red trail up!). This sign indicated the way, however, later we would realise this was the worst option of the two possible paths to take on the descending yellow trail!!!
From here, the path zigged and zagged in short succesions. Stretches of 100m felt like 1000m. The incline of the path increased and the volcanic sand became more gritty and rocky.
The fog came in and visibility was low. However, at some points the wind blew the fog away and you could see kilometres and kilometres of bloody zig zagging path. It really made me ill, the exhaustion was killing me but the only way back was to go forward! 😛
I cheated by making my own path veering off the zig and cutting across straight down to the zag. It saved me a few minutes, but at least I could reach the goal destination quicker.
Eventually, after several hours, we reached the Fifth Station! Glorious!
I had never been so happy to see civilisation. The buildings were arranged in the style of an Italian forum and although we were still 2000+m above sea level, I was in my comfort zone.
I enjoyed the climb to the summit, but the descent was the end of me.