Wednesday 4 April 2012

Climbing Mountains in Seoul

 The Korean Peninsula (North and South) is very mountainous. Most, if not all guidebooks, will tell you how popular hiking is as a past time over here. When I visited in January 2009 with Stuart we decided to give hiking a go and headed over to Seoraksan, the highest peak in South Korea. In January it's covered in snow and very difficult to climb. We had hiking boots but no spikes for our shoes and our ambitious plan of hiking up, staying overnight and coming back down the next day had to be abandoned once we reached the first smallest peak. Since I moved over to Seoul I've only been hiking once before, in Daedunsan. This month I've stepped up and been twice. Once to Bukhansan, the highest peak in Seoul and this weekend to Gwanaksan, which is the mountain right by where I live. (I live in Gwanak district). Both were a challenge, although I expected Bukhansan to be the harder of the two, I'm not sure it is. Parts of Gwanak had us pulling ourselves up the rocks with ropes and chains! Hiking in Seoul and Korea is good fun, and it's fascinating looking at Korean picnics. Pot noodles at the top of a mountain is a regular sight. But it really is a national past time and as such it's always busy, and Koreans are impatient. They don't like to wait for people to get off the train, and equally, they don't like to wait for people to pass through the small part of a trail on a mountain. This is irritating and at times dangerous. There's not much you can do about it except show how disgruntled you are. It won't make any difference but it might make you feel better... All the Bukhansan pictures were taken by Maya Nitzberg (on her fancy camera!)

Messing around before we left
At the beginning of the hike.

Energy twix

Taking a break

We're hiking up to that white flag. (what white flag? it's REALLY small!)

We must be nearly there by now??

The buildings look like hundreds of tiny grave stones.

It was really bloody cold at the peak

Hurry up and take this picture so we can make our way down!!

I ticked another thing off my list and climbed Gwanak!

Yeah that one chain is to stop you plummeting to your death.

We made it!

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  1. Fantastic post!! Forever reminds me of those days hiking the mountains of Korea, I miss that so much.

  2. How mundane will Edinburgh be after that!