Pissin in the Wind

Well, with the go ahead nod from Jesus, I'll go on and finish.

Wet, cold, tired, hungry, angry are common words, words we all understand, but I wonder how many understand what's like to feel all of those words at the same time, for an extended period of time. It's not like I'm some hero for getting that far, or I deserve a pat on the back for not giving up, no it's not like that at all. I wasn't rescuing a dying child, freeing hostages, killing bad guys or even heading to a peace rally. I was just a guy climbing a mountain. It was supposed to be a nice long walk, a little tiring but really no big deal. I didn't set out to prove anything to myself or have some amazing adventure, but life just gets that way sometimes.

So back to the story:

There I am, 3am , still dark, still raining, and still very cold and wet, both inside and out. As I looked ahead and saw just how many people were in front of me, I began to think there was no way I would make it to the top in time. Mentally and physically exhausted, having just a few hours earlier been thinking death was inevitable, and now faced with a crowd of slow moving Japanese blocking my path to victory, I began to wonder if it had all been a waste.... ut then something said "Fuck it" and I began to push forward.

Did I mention my New Balances saved my life? I love those shoes I tell ya. The grip on the outside runs halfway up the sides so theres no slippage, no matter what part of your shoe touches ground, a benefit that came in extra handy in the following 2 hours. Have you seen those mountain goats running up impossible cliffs, nimbly jumping back and forth from landing to landing? I wish I could say I looked like one of those, but nothing could be further from the truth. I jumped, BAM, ouch, slip, oohh, damn!, ow, fu------ck!.... and so it went. Far from being a mountain goat, I prodded and pried feeling my way along the dimly lit path. I won't tell you it was safe, or even courteous, to be sure it was very dangerous and probably rather rude, but I didn't care. I wasn't letting anyone get in my way. So for the next 2 hours, racing against the sun, fighting against the mountain, the typhoon and the crowd, abd upsetting hundreds of people along the way, I climbed as fast as I could, hoping that it was not in vain. The whole point of climbing at night is to watch the sunrise in the morning, so missing the sunrise would pretty much negate the whole reason I was currently going through the hell I was going through, thus, I pushed on scraping and scratching, slipping and sliding.

Finally it appeared, the final station. It was beautiful I tell you. The structure was simple, there was nothing spectacular in its architecture, the only Japanese looking thing about it was the Tori Gate near the front, but to me, it was gorgeous. In my struggle to make it to the top I hadn't realized it now had been at least 10 hours since I last used the toilet. With the coming dawn looming, nature called.

Now you would think that that's no ig deal. You are at the station, there should be a bathroom readily accessible right? Guess again. Running back and forth, to and fro looking like the Hurricane reporter for the Weather Channel, I searched in vain. Finally someone that spoke English (for some reason I had the hardest time remembering the word for toilet when I first got to Japan) "Oh yeah they are down to the right a little, can't miss em" Okay, easy enough. So I walked down to the right a little, and then a little further, and then further and further and pretty soon I began to think I HAD missed them. Screw it, no ones around, and I gotta go.

So you know the saying "Don't piss into the wind" ? That's a very good saying, problem is at the top of Mt. Fuji in a typhoon the wind is literally everywhere. Please understand this is not a gentle breeze either, 100+ mph gusts along with constant wind in the 70-80 mph range. So doing my best to follow the tried and true maxim of outdoorsmen everywhere I placed my back to the wind and let it go. Then the wind changed, and changed again and changed again and again. You know that joke about the guy that walks up to the bar and starts pissing everywhere? On the bar, on the chairs, on the floors, spinning and twirling...I was that guy. I'm not proud of it, but now I look back and laugh, but at the time I thought that was just the sickest thing ever. Deed done, I returned.... passing the toilets along the way. Somehow in the wind, rain and darkness I had walked right by them......doh!!

Luckily 4 of my buddies had also made it to the top. The rest was less than dramatic, the sun was nothing more than a faint circle completely blocked by the clouds, the people at the restaurant kicked us out after we sat next to the fire too long, trying to get some feeling back in our fingers, and then of course, there's the walk down the bastard. The worst part was 5 of my fellow climbers had gone back down the mountain to care after the girl that had gotten sick. They decided to head home, but accidentally took the wrong train and ended up in Tokyo instead of Kyoto. Poor guys spent about 12Man and didn't even get to the top.

Word to the wise: Check the Weather Channel before you go climb a mountain, and Listen to your parents.