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One World in One Lifetime

Posts Tagged ‘Mountain’

Happiness is on a Mountain

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 21, 2010

April 26 – 27, 2008

All Pictures

Again, happy before a hike.

One Last Hike Before I Go

This was to be the last trip I took in Korea. Well, that’s what I thought. The plan was to leave the following week on a boat to China, travel around Asia and Europe for a bit, then get a real job back in the states.

What actually ended up happening was that I missed the boat to China and stayed in Korea for an extra 4 days. Then, while on the boat I began to miss Korea so badly that I almost cried. Then while stuck in Mongolia because my flight was delayed for 2 days I started to look for a job in Korea.

Within 5 months I would be back in Korea and loving it. But at the time of this trip, I was saying my farewells and getting all nostalgic.

Made it to one waterfall

How many restaurants?

I like hiking in Korea even though I’m not that into showing off my being out of shape. The mountains are where all the happy Koreans go. The people you find there are mostly retired and love to socialize, especially when you go on a weekday.

This was another trip where I talked yet another co-worker into hiking with me. On the first day my friend and I wanted to see a waterfall or two. We left our backpacks at the left luggage by the information center. It would have been cheaper and easier to leave them in the building with the cable car, but we didn’t know that then.

I have come to realize that in Korea the difficulty of a hike is directly related to the amount of restaurants you pass on your climb up. Bukhansan had a lot of restaurants, maybe 50 or 60 total, all in little clusters along the mountain. The hike to the waterfall here is only a 2 restaurant hike.

river of rocks

Back for more!?

The next day we went back to the park early in the morning. We ate breakfast in the park. Lucky for us, they had one picture menu with some basic English. I had lived in Seoul for almost a year and I could read Hangeul, but I still couldn’t recognize most dishes by just their names.

We took the cable car to the top of Gwon-Geunseong. There was a plethora of perms and visors as the ajimmas pushed and shoved their way on and off the cable car. They giggled and gasped as the car swayed back and forth a bit before coming to a stop.

It’s pretty far up!

After we rested for a few minutes we hiked up to Ulsanbawi (울산바위). I think it took us about 4 hours to get up and back down. We passed about 4 or 5 restaurants on the way up to the top. Once at the top there was a guy selling photos, key chains, and snacks. Think of the commute that poor guy has every day!

at the top

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.


Sokcho
(속초)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 38°12’25.1″N 128°35’31.7″E
  • Express Bus Terminal has buses that go to Sokcho.
  • Most cities in South Korea has a bus station called “Express Bus Terminal” that have buses to Sokcho.
  • From Seoul it is a 4 hours bus ride.
  • There are no trains to Sokcho.

Website:

Notes:

The DMZ is an hour bus ride from this town.


Seoraksan
(설악산)

in the

Taebaek mountain range
(태백산맥)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 38°06’40.8″N 128°25’51.2″E

From the bus terminal at Sokcho

  • Cross the street
  • Take the number 7 or 7-1.
  • The national park is the last stop for both buses.

Phone:

  • +82-033-636-8355
  • Korean Tourist Information +82-33-1330

Website:

e-mail: sorak@knps.or.kr

Notes:

  • There are camping facilities here.
  • The building with the cable car has the better and cheaper lockers for your stuff.

Map:

Posted in Sokcho, South Korea | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Cable Car Doesn’t Go Far

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 21, 2010

March 01, 2008

All Pictures

I always look so happy before I go hiking…

It’ll be easy; there’s a cable car.

This one was my idea. I saw a picture of a suspension bridge on a mountain in Korea and it motivated me to see it for myself. I found that there were two such mountain bridges. One was on Wolchansan the other on Daedunsan.

I opted to hike up Daedunsan because it has a cable car that takes you part way up the mountain. That way I wouldn’t have to do so much hiking, right?  Well it helped me to convince a co-worker and his girlfriend into joining me.

Well, the cable car only takes you so far up. You still have to hike up half the mountain and the peak. But the cable car does give you a magnificent view if you’re brave enough to look.

You can’t see the fear in my eyes from this distance.

The suspension bridge is not very scary. The cable car was more frightening. The bridge doesn’t even shake when people walk across it. People would have to stomp their way along the bridge for it to move just a bit. I was able to look down at the heads of the people who didn’t take the cable car. That gave me a little satisfaction.

This is where it got real.

What was scary was the climb up the stair case to the peak. It was a fantastic view when I turned around, but then I wanted to throw up. The stairs are very high up and it made me feel exposed when I was on it, like I could easily fall off the mountain if I tripped or if the wind blew hard enough. I held on tightly to the railing and stepped very carefully.

There’s no turning back.

It was very icy on the peak. Sometimes ice forms at the top of mountains on windy days. There was a stone path and a rope to hold onto. I was quite entertained watching hikers try to get up the peak. I counted 7 falls by 5 different people.

I just want to be alone for my mountain top photo!

There were some hikers wearing crampons, but I didn’t think that was needed. There was some ice at the top, but it didn’t justify lugging crampons up the entire mountain. They would only be needed for the last 30 meters.

I’ll just push these guys off the mountain.

I made it up to the top without falling, though I came close a couple times. I was quite proud of myself and looked down on the people who fell. Then, on my way down from the peak, the mountain must have moved and smacked me on my back side. I jump up before anyone saw, but had trouble staying up. I slid again this time right into a patch of mud. I descended Deadunsan with a muddy butt.

That’s better

No, there are no pictures of that!

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.


Daedunsan
(대둔산)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 36°07’12.5″N 127°19’24.5″E
  • At the time I went, first we had to get to either Daejeon or Jeonju.
  • From there we had to go to Seobu Terminal in Daejeon or Jeonju Intercity Bus Terminal to get to the mountain.
  • I think both bus rides are about 1 hour.

Website:

Cost:

  • There is no entry fee
  • The cable car is 3,500KRW

Hours:

  • 9:00 – 18:00
  • Times change dues to seasons and weather

Notes:

If you hike in the winter, you might want to bring crampons and a change of clothes. Okay, maybe crampons are a bit extreme… But watch your step.

Map:

Posted in Daejeon, South Korea | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a 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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