The alarm started violently screaming at 3:30 in the morning, “What was I thinking when I took this challenge on?” I thought as I rolled out of bed to begin getting ready for what may be a very long day.
My mind thought about the people who braved this challenge a few days before me and returned a nice shade of ruby cherry red from being sunburned, but I was advised to be prepared for anything, after all the weather is very unpredictable on a mountain and today I was hiking one of the greats, Mt. Fuji.
I dressed in athletic wear, pulled my sneakers on, and stuffed an extra scarf and a hoodie in my backpack. I was physically ready to do something that always piqued my interest.
I felt a sense of calm and joy as I embarked on the short walk to the bus that was prepared to take me from Yokohama to the foot of Mt. Fuji. No turning back now, this is the start line.
After a long two to three hours drive, I exited the bus and immediately grabbed the extra gloves and hoodie I brought with me. In Yokohama, the summer sun was blazing with loving warmth but on Mt. Fuji, the sun seemed to take the day off.
It was already starting to be “one of those days.”
The ascend was mostly a blur and the hike everyone was raving about turned into an actual climb at a certain point.
My endurance limits were tested that day. My mind grew quieter as the trek stretched on in front. The only thoughts circling my head as I passed the upper stations were. “Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot.”
I saw faces I recognized and knew they were the other brave souls who decided the take on the challenge as I did, but speaking words seemed to be an entirely new challenge that would waste precious energy, so a cordial Hi turned into a short stare and a quick nod while my thoughts continue the monotonous cadence, “left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot.”
Every rest station felt like a joy.
Sit, relax, breathe and get your climbing stick stamped became an unexpected refresher that refilled my energy tanks and urged me to keep going.
Nothing was going to stop me from making it to the top, nothing.
The temptation to cut the climb short and turn back because it was too hard was present at every rest station. The huge sign was hard to miss, “Descend!” it urged as it took on an otherworldly glow, trying desperately to convince me to quit the ascend.
With a newfound determination from my short rest, a quick cup of soup, and now warm fingers I continued the climb.
A Random Curveball
It was as if the elements were mocking me that day because the substance falling from the sky was surely not water!
No, it was something worse, freezing rain!
Mixed with the brisk mountain wind, the freezing rain was the last straw that numbed my already old fingers and glued my hand to my walking stick.
I pressed on ignoring everyone around me. I will make it to the top, I didn’t come this far to turn back now, I have two more stations to pass before I reach the summit.
My body stopped and my attention was drawn to a scene happening in my path, a child, no older than six, lay exhausted on the dirt and refused to move, not caring that he was holding up an entire mountain of hikers.
Everyone who witnessed this spectacle laughed because here it was in physical form, the thought that we’ve been revisiting since we started.
Thankful for the two-minute breather, unwilling feet started to move forward again, the journey wasn’t over.
The summit stayed hidden the entire climb up, there was no natural formation in the earth that indicated the end was near, no glimpse of the end to refuel my now depleted energy bank, just a few sporadic Japanese signs that showed numbers my brain was too tired to translate.
I followed my impulse and looked back to view the lay of the land and what I saw shocked me.
I was above the clouds!
I was standing on solid ground, above the clouds.
Miles and miles of the winding red dirt path below me was filled with people slowly ascending.
The realization of how far I’d already climbed hit me instantly and refueled my energy tank immediately. I now needed to know what everything looked like from the summit. I trekked forward.
Round and round the climb stretched on until the last sign said something that looked like “summit ahead”.
I turned the corner and finally saw the light, the end, the summit, I made it to the top!
I immediately went to the edge and stood in awe.
High above rows of clouds was a view so breathtaking, it left me speechless. “I’m on top of the world!” A thought whispered in my head.
Reflection Of The Journey
I came prepared for the worst, and the worst was thrown in my face so much that it numbed my gloveless fingers in the process.
I ignored the urge to give up, quit, throw away my climbing stick, and start my descent into the inevitable feeling of failure. I now stood triumphant at the top reviewing the turmoil I voluntarily put myself through and I felt proud.
Proud that I didn’t stubbornly push past the rest stops in a destructive feat to finish as quickly as possible, which would have no doubt pushed me over the edge resulting in utter failure.
Proud that when my energy was depleted and I couldn’t form sentences, my thoughts were guiding me to take my journey one step at a time.
On the way down the soil was soft and seemed to cushion my feet with every step I took. I was feeling elated, nothing could bring my spirit down, I made it to the top of Mt. Fuji and back down in six hours.
Life Lessons Keeps Flowing
About a month later both my toenails on my big toes packed up and left me, turns out the sneakers I proudly donned that morning were the worst type of shoes to go hiking up and down a mountain.
The life lessons I learned on Mt. Fuji have made an everlasting impact on my life, it taught me that even though I didn’t have all the correct gear to make the ascend, my determination to make it to the top with what I had at my disposal was enough to get me to my destination and reward me with lifetime memories of the climb.
Life experiences are the greatest professors you can ask for. The choices you make while you’re going through your challenges will shape you into the person you want to become.
Take breaks all the time, it’s the only way you’ll replenish your energy tanks to keep you going. If your goal is something you truly desire, don’t allow the mystical glow of the quit and give up sign to entice you into doing something you know you’ll regret.
Take a breath and keep going, you’ll make it to your destination, even if it takes you years to get there.
If you enjoyed this article please subscribe to my weekly newsletter to receive first-hand updates on when a new article is published. You’ll also receive a free productivity Ebook as a welcome gift.
Questions You May Have
How can I increase my energy levels during challenging tasks?
Taking regular breaks to rest and refuel is one of the best ways to increase your energy levels. Additionally, getting enough sleep and reducing stressors in your life can help you maintain your energy throughout challenging tasks.
What should I do when I feel like giving up?
When you’re feeling overwhelmed or feel like giving up, it’s important to take a step back and assess your situation. Remind yourself of why you are doing this task and reframe it in terms of what you stand to gain from it. Break it into tiny pieces and take it one step at a time.
What lesson did you learn from hiking?
Determination and perseverance can take you farther than having the perfect gear or resources. It’s also important to take regular breaks to replenish your energy levels so that you can keep going when the going gets tough. Finally, appreciate every step of the journey, reflect and remind yourself why it matters to you.
Thank you for your inspiring testament, supporting your readers to keep going!
You are very welcome Susan, thank you so much for commenting, I appreciate your support.
Great post! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for reading Kirsten!
This was such an interesting read! I never would have guessed you’d have experienced freezing rain up there! I hope your feet are okay after your toe nails left! You’re so right though, in any situation we need to keep going with determination and we will get there, even if it takes us longer than we first expect!
My feet made a wonderful recovery, thanks Katherine, and yes we just have to keep moving forward with determination. Thanks for commenting!
Sounds like an amazing and moving trip! Those are the ones we know we stick with us. They are a part of our story. Thank you for sharing.
It truly was an amazing day. Thanks for reading Lindsey!
Found myself urging you on as you fought your way to the top! I can’t imagine how thrilling this experience was for you!
It was amazing Susan, thanks for cheering me on 🙂