Monday, October 12, 2009


On Saturday, still a little bummed from not being able to climb Mount Fuji due to rain and foggy foggy weather, Amanda and I -- apparently becoming avid hikers -- made our way to the west of Seoul to get out of the city, and to hike the beautiful mountain, Seoraksan. It is among the highest mountains in our area, and well beloved by Korean people for beautiful views, especially in the fall when the leaving are changing.

Our day started out as per usual, getting up early, hopping on the new Line 9 to get the express subway and proceeding to escape the concrete city that we call home. It was a beautiful day! The bus to Sokcho was long, of course, but we got to take some nice pictures of the countryside along the way.

Neither of us ever really having lived inland, Amanda and I both practically jumped out of our seats when we got to Sokcho, and saw the ocean. Cameras snapping, we both kind of looked at each other, realised how bemused our families would be that we were taking pictures of water, laughed and then kept taking pictures. Oh! the sea! How I've missed you these past 11 months! I can't wait until we are reunited at last!

Once we finally reached Sokcho station we had to again take another bus as far as the mountain. We were beginning to think the travelling would never end. In all from when we left our apartments until we got off the last bus we were in transit for a good 6 hours! Yikes! Everyone we talked to said it would be around four. I am beginning to be convinced that this type of thing only happens to Amanda and I.

Once we did get on the city bus however, we found it to be crowded with fellow hikers. It was a relief to know that we at least seemed to be headed towards the right place.

When we finally arrived, we knew that it had all been worth it. Mountains certainly have a way of taking your breath away, don't they?

The craggy peaks and shear cliffs...

The stark contrast of the horizon against the sky...

The... wait. Hold up. Are those... cars? I'm trying to wax poetic here...


I thought you said that you were taking me to the mountains?

Are you sure we didn't somehow miss the sign and take a wrong turn?

Apparently in English, Seoraksan, which I had always believed to mean Seorak Mountain, actually roughly translates to "Fall Carnival and Tourist Trap," at least for the first 20 mins of "hiking."

Jokes aside, once you had been hiking for about half and hour or so, although the sheer number of people you were sharing the hiking trails with never abated, the touristy kitschy atmosphere did lessen and we were left surrounded by pristine, relatively untouched beauty on all sides.

As we hiked the views just got more and more spectacular. I thought the colour of the water in the many small pools along the side of the path was just striking in contrast with grey of the rocks surrounding it,

and I was fascinated with the centuries old carving of the stone walls that we passed.

Mother nature sure knew what she was up to when she made Korea, I can tell you that much!

I can only imagine how radiant this same view will be a few weeks from now when the leaves are changing colours. No small wonder that Koreans love hiking as much as they do!

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