Day 12 -Long Trudge

Tuesday August 5th                                          8 km (5 miles) 9 hrs

After a splendid night in the hut eating a bowl of Ramen and sipping on beer, Chris and I discover the owner of the hut, Matsuzawa Munchiro, has been living there during the summer months for the past 30 years. A very kind gentleman who gave us free beer and the best hospitality so far of the journey. He was also the same man whom cut the trail that we began our long hike on today. After a rainy night most of our gear was soaked and needed to be dried as quickly as possible. A steep climb using fixed ropes brought us to the summit of Funakubo-dake at 2459 meters (8,067 ft) and with an open area we laid all the wet gear out to dry. A cup of tea and we were on our way to our biggest challenge of the day, Fudo-dake at 2601 meters (8,533 ft). After lots of up and down climbing during which time the skies opened up and the rain fell in buckets we finally came upon the main ridge and after another 1.5 hours we found ourselves perched on the windy and cloudy summit. Our second peak of the day and we’re both utterly exhausted. These mountains we told ourselves were not the easiest and we also felt that we took them a little lightly. With three hours or more to the next tent site we trudged on stoically. Making good time we climbed Minamizawa-dake at 2,653 meters (8,704 ft) and then fought our way on. The last hour of the hike brought us to the most beautiful section of the day. Wide meadows with alpine flowers dotting them and glaciers that gave way to small ponds were all around us. One bend in the trail would lead us on to more spectacular scenery and the hardships we endured all day were well rewarded. Ascending Eboshi-dake at 2,628 meters (8,622 ft) and the meadows gave way to a lunar like landscape that reminded me not only of Joshua Tree National Park in California without the Joshua Trees but of a Japanese style Zen garden with the rocks strategically and neatly laid out along with small cedar trees scattered in a chaotic but ordered way. With that walk we ended day 10 of hiking and day 12 in the mountains. Very exhausted we pitched our tent and crashed into a deep sleep.

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