You guys caught me out (I did try to make it easy); the mystery destination was the summit of Mt. Fuji. On a whim and with absolutely no preparation, I decided to take a night hike up the mountain in order to see the sunrise. This meant going from 0 to 3776m above sea level and back within 24 hours. It did indeed mean I was insane, but I wound up climbing with a few other nutcases, so that was alright. We shared food and jokes and kept each other from freezing to death when we reached the summit a good 2.5 hours ahead of schedule and had to contend with a real night on bald mountain. In all honesty, without them, I may not have made it. Instead, though, I made a few new friends. Nifty how that works out.

Since there is no editing capacity on this firewalled jalopy, I’ll close with just two extremes of the experience. First, the surprised numbness at trudging through the empty path at the top (realizing later that we were among the first 30 people to complete the ascent), followed by awe at the bitter strength of the winds and the tempered brilliance of the sunrise. Secondly, my comment to Greg when he suggested staying over to make the climb again in daylight (so we could take photos): “Dude, no. I need a week before trying something so batshit crazy again.”