Today's post on the letter F (does this make you feel like you're on Sesame Street? Because I think about that every time I start one of these posts!) is a little different. I'm featuring a mountain I've never seen, and may never see. Inspired by Jemima Pett's forthcoming publication of her father's memoirs, I am looking at what my Dad wrote up about his climb of Mt. Fuji while he was in Japan with the US Army in 1946-7 (I think the climb was in summer 1947).
Here is Dad's account of his climb, as he wrote it many many years later. Dad was a pastor and a historian but not necessarily a writer, but I have chosen to use his words, though I've created paragraphs where he ran it all together. Prior to this description, he was summarizing what he did in Japan (mostly pick up trash and mount guard, as far as I can tell).
The next event in the big adventure was a bivouac at the foot of Mt. Fuji, where there was a large area set aside for training. We slept first in squad tents, then in puptents, to give us the experiences that might be needed for combat. It was here that we learned to fire the mortar and did some other training exercises. But that was not all. We did have some spare time, and there was a nice swimming hold in the river nearby.
We also had a couple of days to climb Fuji, but I am not sure if it was voluntary. It was a nice experience. There is a trail that would probably take a Jeep all the way, but that was not allowed. We began hiking at about the 4000-foot level, still in the trees. As we reached the tree line, we could see the trail on up the mountain, crowded with tourists: Japanese and G.I.s.
Periodically there was a stone hut, where one could get a snack or get his "fujistick" stamped. There were ten of these stations. All ten stamps (they were actually burned into the wood) indicated a successful climb. Since all my squad made the climb (it was actually more of a hike) we didn't make much of the whole adventure. I do regret that I did not find some way of bringing my fujistick home, even in pieces. I wasn't thinking of grandchildren then.
The rest of the summer was training, guard duty, and the kind of things that the army thought of to keep the troops busy.
|Dad, nearing the summit of Fuji.|
Had to cheat and get a photo from the web. I like that you can see the trail zig-zagging up the shoulder of the mountain (you may have to follow the link to the original to see it clearly)