Monday, November 4, 2013

Woraksan Mountain

This weekend a bunch of my friends and I had plans to go hiking to Woraksan Mountain, which is about an hour away from Jeomchon.

Three of my friends from Seoul came down on Friday night, and we had an early morning (after obviously staying up too late the night before) to get our adventure started.  We rented a car for the day, so we avoided the tricky bus situation and got a start on our hiking around 10:00.

I had been concerned about the weather because there looked to be a chance of rain.  However, everyone still wanted to go, so we started to make our way up the mountain.  It was actually a little sunny for about the first fifteen minutes, but unfortunately that didn't last too long.

The mountain itself was pretty tough.  Of course, there were plenty of Korean hikers along the way.  And yes, Korean hikers are different from the typical hikers you find on your average New England weekend hike.  While hiking in Korea, it is is pretty routine to be passed by these Korea hikers, who are typically at least 20-30 years older than myself.  Naturally, while I'm huffing and puffing they never seem to be bothered by the difficulty of the hike.

Korean hikers are also without doubt the best-dressed hikers I've ever encountered.  One of the things that struck me when I first moved to Jeomchon was the number of outdoor apparel stores.  Jeomchon is not that big and we have SO MANY of these types of stores.  How many of those stores do you really need?  Well, now I know, apparently you really do a lot because Korean hikers are all fully clothed in the most legit hiking gear there is.

As we made our way further up the mountain it was obvious the clouds were only getting thicker.  We didn't have much of a view at all and once we got closer to the top, it then it started to rain on us.  We wanted to make it to the top, but we got to the point right before the most intense part, it was raining, and we knew even if we did make it to the top there wouldn't be much of a view.  So, we had some lunch, in the rain where we were, then made our way down.







You just don't see this when you're hiking in New England. 
That is the top of the mountain...so close, yet so far!
Same picture as above, but after only about 10 minutes we couldn't even see the top of the mountain anymore

Lunch time!

In America we have PB&J, in Korea you have kimbap while hiking.  I have to say, it's awesome. 



Of course, coming down a really steep mountain in the rain is less than desirable and I think we all slipped at least a few times.  Needless to say, we were pretty happy to make it back to the car.

Despite the conditions, it was still a nice day to be outside and get some fresh air. I love hiking in New England, but there's something really awesome about coming across Buddhist monks and temples in the middle of your way up a mountain (yeah, that happened).  I definitely want to go back to Woraksan in the spring because I can tell there are some fantastic views out there and since we didn't make it all the way to the top, it's definitely a mission that needs to be accomplished!

Once we got back we showered and met up with some other friends for dinner.  Then we went out for a few drinks, and of course ended the night with noraebang.  It was a really fun night, and I'm really glad that my friends from Seoul could meet my friends in Jeomchon.  I know I've said it before, but I really feel blessed to have met so many awesome people in such a short amount of time.
A Korean, A Hong Konger (what do they call people from Hong Kong?), and an American! I love these girls!

Love these people!

Obviously this had to happen. 


Sunday we woke up late and everyone left in the afternoon.  I was sad, to see everyone leave, but I hope that it won't be long until we can all meet up again!

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