Hiking in Korea

One of the things I will really miss after leaving Korea is the amazing hiking.  Seoul is surrounded by mountains and much of the entire Korean peninsula is mountainous.  Hiking here is way more intense than any other hiking I’ve done before.  Pulling my self up a rock face with a rope and climbing steep stairs attached to a vertical rock wall were not things I had done before.  It helped me to overcome my fear of hights a bit.  Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be able to do rock climbing.  I think that is still a ways off though.

Here are a few of my hiking experiences:

My first hiking experience was at the start of winter (possibly our first week in Korea) with Victoria and Carolyn.  Victoria took us up the mountain near where Victoria and Austin live, Gwanaksan  It was raining when we started and snowing by the time we got to the “top”    Because of the snow and fog we couldn’t see anything, but I could hear the chanting and drumming of the monks in a temple usually visible from where we were.  It was a great introduction to hiking in Korea.

The cold climb up. In Korean hiking you usually go up...straight up.

Koreans having a picnic near the top. They pack a lot into their backpacks

made it!

We were also Lucky enough to have a national park in our backyard and trail heads a 5 min. walk away.  To see about our first hike up part of this mountain, you can see a previous post: https://heartnseoul.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/hike/

We hiked this mountain many times and once made it to the “top”.  Daedongmun gate.  Had to climb over some pretty precarious rocks to get there.

climbing

ahhhhh, this is why I hike

Don't mock me. I felt super bad ass after getting over this part.

made it to the gate.

More from this mountain…

abusing a friend's camera

very early in the hike

doesn't take long to get to this view.

I was also lucky enough to take a wonderful hiking trip with the SHITY hikers (Sunday Hikers Interested in Trekking Yet again).  I can’t believe I didn’t post about this when it happened!  We took a bus down south and spend one afternoon on the beach, then the next day hiking.  I was exhausted, but it was great!

The beach. We were the only ones in bathing suits. Not surprising for Korea.

nice relaxing time on the beach, plus Hookah!

Going up...

The view...

The end

We were also able to hike Dobongson with our good friends Bonnie and Andrew.  Yet another great hike.

Thanks to Andrew for this awesome panorama.

So all in all, hiking has been awesome.  That is the basic gist of this post 🙂

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Chang Deok Palace and Garden

As Lane and I are finishing up our last weeks here in Seoul we have been cramming in many sights and activities.  One that I’m glad we didn’t miss is this palace.  It’s a bit more set apart from the city than the other palaces and has a large “garden” though it seems to be much more forest than garden.  Like the other palaces it has some great traditional Korean architecture.  It was also destroyed in the Japanese invasion like the other palaces and rebuilt in the 19th century.  Unfortunately you have to take a guided tour through the garden and cannot wander freely.  This palace is also home to trees up to 750 years old.  Going at the beginning of fall was great because of the perfect temperature and the fall colors in the trees.  Here are some photos.

I love the colors and patterns in traditional Korean architecture. If I ever build my own house it will be included.

The main hall. Used for political matters.

Entryways, gates, and doors are the most elaborate and beautiful to me.

the roofing tiles. very cool. Koreans like to put roofs on everything (traditionally)

such a peaceful place

can I live here? So cute

a taste of the cool trees.

one of several waterside buildings/ gazebos in the garden

 

Gazebo

and another gazebo. i wish we were aloud to just relax on them.

I want one of these trees in my yard. I believe it is a Japanese Maple.

and finally the 750 year old Juniper. It needed assistance keeping itself off the ground. Can you blame it?