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Archive for the ‘Uijeongbu’ Category

Wow, You Have 5 Friends!?

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 21, 2010

September 14, 2008

All Pictures

Happy to be back in Korea

Back Again

This was my first trip in Korea since my return. I had a new job and lots of new friends to go hiking with. I started work back on August 25 and this, when Korea celebrated Chusok, was our first long weekend. It’s kind of like Thanksgiving back in North America. Most importantly it is time away from work.

picking a trail to hike

Have you notice that I don’t go hiking with the same people twice? I can only talk them into once.

My friends and I all worked in different schools around Seoul and therefore live in different districts. I met some of my friends at the station nearest to were I live, Chang-dong, and others at Dobong Staion.

On our hike up the mountian we passed one of Sarah’s new co-workers. They talked for a little while before Sarah introduced her to us. The lady looked amazed. “Sarah, you have 5 friends! How?”

We teased Sarah for the rest of the hike.

“Man Sarah, your co-worker was really shocked that you have 5 whole friends”

“One or two, maybe. But 5? How?”

I think I’ve explained before how Koreans like to ask foreigners, “How many friends do you have?” I still don’t understand it…

David: Lord of the Hike

Do you need help?

We may have looked a bit lost and disorganized, but so what. Getting to the top is only part of what hiking is all about. I think just the fact that I woke up early in the morning and left my apartment is a big accomplishment.

But that didn’t sit well with on-looker “David”. He thought we needed a bit of guidance and motivation and he was just the man for the job.

“David is giving us dirty looks again; we better get back to the trail.”

Lord of the Hike

I’m out of shape, so I like to take breaks. Plus I really like being on mountains. The more breaks I take, the more time I can spend on the mountain. But “David” didn’t like that. He was always trying to get us going. He wouldn’t even sit down when we were sitting. He was really pushy for a guy we had just met only 30 minutes ago.

We only took this photo so we could sit without David yelling at us.

I think that eventually he just got fed up with us. Somewhere around the peak he disappeared. We just weren’t the type of lazy bums he wanted to practice his English with.

All that hiking made me hungry.

And for the record, I hiked up Dobongsan twice!

Here’s another great shot of us sitting.

All Pictures


 

South Korea
(대한민국)

How to get there:

  • You can enter by plane, boat, or train, though entry by train is rare if not damn impossible for most non-presidents of North or South Korea.
  • Most citizens from many countries do not need to get a visa before going to South Korea.
  • People of most nationalities will get a 90-day visa at the airport or ferry port.
  • To be completely sure, check with the Korean embassy in your country.

Phone:

Website:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Korea is a generally safe country. You don’t really have to watch out for pickpockets,muggers, or scam artists.
    • You should watch out when crossing the streets, beware of scooters on the sidewalk, and the little old ladies that will push you to get that last seat on the bus or subway.
  • Use common sense and you will be okay.
  • Things are generally inexpensive and there are many wonderful things to buy.

Enjoy Korea! I live there for 2 years and had a fantastic time.


Dobongsan
(도봉산)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 37°42’01.3″N 127°00’56.5″E
  • Take subway line 1 to Dobong Station.
  • Then follow the herd of people in hiking gear.

Website:

Cost:

  • Free

Notes:

  • If you need any type of hiking equipment you can buy it along the walk to the base of this mountain.
  • Dobongsan is a mountain in Bukhansan National Park (북한산국립공원).

Map:

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Posted in Dobong, Seoul, South Korea, Uijeongbu | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

North Han Mountain

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 21, 2010

November 18, 2007

All Pictures

We’re all smiles because we’re still warm and we haven’t started the real hike yet.

Dress Warmly and Don’t be Afraid

I don’t know what I was thinking. One of my co-workers had the crazy idea of  hiking up the biggest mountain near Seoul. I’m not sure if Bukhansan is actually the biggest mountain, but that’s what we were going for. He asked everyone at work to join him and his girlfriend for the trek. I was the only one of the co-workers who showed up.

We met at Hoeryong Station early one morning to begin our climb up. I thought I was well prepared because I had a hat, scarf, and thermal underwear on. None of us were really prepared and it became apparent when we passed a little food stand selling cup noodles.

That’s when I remember that I didn’t bring any snacks with me, nor did I eat breakfast that morning. Aaron and Hee-Jung did bring snacks, nuts and dried fruit, but they didn’t have breakfast either. So we stopped to eat.

The partially frozen waterfall should have been a sign of things to come.

When we were done we started on the hike again. At first things weren’t too bad. We all had plenty of energy. We stopped every 15 minutes to climb into a dry river bed or to climb up some rocks to take interesting pictures. I was beginning to think that hiking up mountains was easy.

There are many food stalls along the easy-to-walk sections of hiking trails in Korea. Once we passed the last set, the hike got more and more tiring. It got colder. I began to notice what a bad idea hiking in running shoes was.

When you need some prayers for your hike.

There are two main problems with hiking in the winter with running shoes. First off, hiking should never, never, never be done in running shoes. Running shoes are soft and flexible. This is so your feet can bend when running. When hiking you need shoes with hard soles, so that you can walk comfortably on rocky unpaved surfaces for a long time. My feet hurt for several days after this hike.

Another disadvantage of hiking in the cold with running shoes is that they don’t keep your feet warm. Your feet sweat when you run. Running shoes are very breathable to allow your feet to dry off. Otherwise you’ll get athlete’s foot. On a cold hike,  breathability is the last thing you want. When your feet are cold, you will feel really cold.

Never hike in anything other than hiking shoes. The cheapest hiking shoes are better than the most expensive sneakers. So it doesn’t matter if you buy them at Wal-mart or Payless. If they’re comfortable and they have a hard sole, they’ll do fine.

I smiled through all the pain.

So I was freezing and my feet hurt. But when I saw the gate, I thought that my torture was almost over. Once at the gate, I knew it was not. The gate marks the end of the hike and the beginning of the climb. The smile you see in the picture above is a fake.

I wanted to stop there. I told Hee-Jung that I would meet her and Aaron when they came back down. But Aaron wouldn’t have it. “You don’t want to wuss out, do you? Besides, we’re not coming back this way. We’re going down on the other side.”

It’s always nice to have a doctor with you.

That’s when DongHee, the chiropractor entered the picture. He was hiking up Bukhansan for fun by himself. He offered to help us. He had done this hike several times this year alone and would give us pointers.

At first, I didn’t think we needed any help, unless he was going to physically carry one of us up to the top. But there were sections on the climb where I would have turned back if he didn’t tell me that is was perfectly safe.

At one point, it got very windy and we had to use a rope to hoist ourselves up. There was no way to go down since there was a long line of people waiting to pass through this very narrow section.

Hee-Jung got very scared and started to cry. I almost cried going through myself, but DongHee helped me. He went back to talk Hee-Jung through and eventually got her up the rope. It was really high up.

This is not a good place to slip.

I felt that one missed placed step could cause me to slip and I’d slide right off the face of the mountain. I had the urge to pee the whole time I was on the peak. I could not stop shaking, but I made my way to the top.

Don’t ask me to stand up or look down. I just can’t.

At the very top, my legs just stopped working. I could not make myself stand up so I just slid on my butt. Seoul was very far down. But I made it; all the way to the top! I enjoyed it, even though I was too scared to look at the view.

Don’t turn around and you’ll be fine.

All Pictures


 

South Korea
(대한민국)

How to get there:

  • You can enter by plane, boat, or train, though entry by train is rare if not damn impossible for most non-presidents of North or South Korea.
  • Most citizens from many countries do not need to get a visa before going to South Korea.
  • People of most nationalities will get a 90-day visa at the airport or ferry port.
  • To be completely sure, check with the Korean embassy in your country.

Phone:

Website:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Korea is a generally safe country. You don’t really have to watch out for pickpockets,muggers, or scam artists.
    • You should watch out when crossing the streets, beware of scooters on the sidewalk, and the little old ladies that will push you to get that last seat on the bus or subway.
  • Use common sense and you will be okay.
  • Things are generally inexpensive and there are many wonderful things to buy.

Enjoy Korea! I live there for 2 years and had a fantastic time.


Bukhansan
(북한산)

How to get there:

By Public Transportation –

  • To to Hoeryong Station.
  • or Take bus #36, 39, 136, 139, 1148, 1151 or 9101 to Hoeryong Station.
  • It’s a 20 minute walk from the subway station. Just follow the people in hiking gear.

Address:

San 68-1 Ui-dong,
Gangbuk-gu, Seoul
South Korea

Phone: 

  • +82-2-909-0497~8

Website:

e-mail: pukhan@knps.or.kr

Cost:

Hours:

  • You can hiking any time, but you should not go at night.

Notes:

  • Like most mountains in Korea there are many restaurants and vendors along the trail up this mountain.

Map:

Posted in Seoul, South Korea, Uijeongbu | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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