Archive for January 26th, 2021

The problem I have with the Conqueror Challenges is that the routes are so amazing, it makes me want to do the walks in real time, and not just virtually. So to that end, I’ve added them to my list of ‘walks I want to do before I die’ and 🙏🙏🙏 the Universe is listening and provides a sponsor so I can go walking instead of working 🤣🤣🤣

I actually completed the Mt. Fuji virtual challenge in 2020, but as usual I got distracted by other walks and places and forgot to share them….so here’s the 1st stage. I’ll post the next few stages over the coming days. I love the information that comes with the postcards and find them absolutely fascinating.

I started the Mt. Fuji challenge on 26 December, immediately after finishing the Great Ocean Road Australia challenge, and because I was not working, managed to complete the challenge in a few days…chop chop as they say.

When I decided to hike Japan’s tallest mountain, Mount Fuji, I pondered the best route that would capture its culture and spirit whilst travelling through its lush green landscape. The result was a 46mi (74km) journey starting at the base of the mountain, leading past lakes, caves, temples, shrines, dense forestry and ending with the final climb to the summit.

Mt. Fuji virtual challenge

Mount Fuji is one of three holy mountains in Japan. At 12,388ft (3,776m) tall, Fuji sits atop a triple junction trench where three tectonic plates meet. Although geologists classify it as active, Fuji is a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1707. At the base it is surrounded by the Fuji Five Lakes which were formed by previous eruptions damming up the rivers with the lava flows.

Mount Fuji is a composite of four successive volcanoes meaning it’s made up of layers. The first two layers were the result of an eruption more than 700,000 years ago known as Sen-Komitake and Komitake Fuji. The next eruption, about 100,000 years ago, engulfed Komitake Fuji and added the second layer creating Old Fuji. The third eruption about 10,000 years ago formed New Fuji and the summit zone producing the near perfect conical shape we know today.

Recognised as a sacred place and considered a symbol of Japan, Mount Fuji is a pilgrimage destination for practisers of Shinto. Each year between July and August, up to 400,000 tourists and pilgrims make the long trek to the summit. In 2013, Mount Fuji was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Dotted throughout Japan are Shinto shrines and Torii gates. Shinto is the indigenous faith of the Japanese people and the shrines are places of worship and homes of the Kami (Gods). Practitioners come to pay their respects to the Kami or pray for good fortune. The entrance to a shrine is marked by a gate known as Torii and they symbolise the “transition from mundane to sacred”. To enter through a Torii, one enters the world of the Kami (Shinto Gods).

I began my hike at the Yama Shrine near Lake Motosu, one of the Five Lakes. The third largest and deepest of the five lakes, it is subteranneously connected to Lake Shoji and Lake Saiko. Originally one lake, these three lakes were divided by one of Mount Fuji’s enormous lava flows. The water temperature on Lake Motosu never drops below 39 °F (4°C) and as such it is the only lake of the five that never freezes over winter.

Northward bound, I passed by Lake Shoji, the second and smallest of the Five Lakes. On the left side of the lake you can still see large remnants of the lava flow jutting out of the water. With a greenish hue due to algae and rich in nutrients including plankton, locals can be seen standing on the lava rocks fishing.

My final stop for today was Lake Saiko, the third of the Five Lakes. With no natural outflow an artificial channel was made to connect it to Lake Kawaguchi. Lake Saiko’s banks borders the Aokigahara Forest which I will write about in my next letter.

Don’t you think that’s fascinating? There’s so much to learn about this fabulous world of ours.

Why not join me on one of the challenges https://www.theconqueror.events/r/CE1474 they are excellent motivation to get out and and walk, especially now that our wings are clipped by Covid-19 and lockdown.

Stage 2…to follow shortly.

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