Monday, October 21, 2013

Songnisan Mountain

To celebrate Jeremy's birthday this weekend, we ventured to go hiking at Songnisan National Park.

Nearly everything in Korea tends to be an adventure simply because it's brand-spankin' new and we must learn how to do it in a foreign language. This trip was no exception.

Where's Jeremy?
We successfully made it from our bus stop to the bus station.
Bought tickets for Songnisan.
Got on the right bus.
We were feeling pretty accomplished before we even made it to the park!

We arrived to a small town, got off, and followed the other hikers. They are easy to spot because they all tend to dress the same: hiking boots, colorful patchwork Black Yak pants, soft shell jackets, usually hat, usually gloves, and trekking poles. They are legit and all seem to wear "the uniform" to prove it. Quite impressive! I'm not the only one who thinks so... (check out this guy's Korean comics from a foreigner's point-of-view).
We stumbled upon Songnisan in the midst of what we later found out is the weekend Autumn Festival. There are numerous street vendors with fresh produce, wood works, roasted chestnuts, Korean pancakes, corn dogs, waffles, and jewelry.

As we walked a woman at one particular stall said, "Hola!" We did a double-take and saw a young woman was indeed not Korean!

"Hola?" we asked.

"Hola!" she repeated.

We continued speaking to her in Spanish and came to find out she is from Ecuador and was selling her bracelets and wares that day at the festival.

No sooner had we met our first Eduadorian in Korea, did we turn and spotted a Native American music and dance performance. That's right. Full head dresses and moccasins, playing drums and flutes, and selling CDs. We were blown away.

Finally, we made it through town and continued following the stream of hikers to the entrance of the national park.

(it is highly likely that I will never remember the correct way to hold the camera when taking videos)

What we thought would be a nice little hike, turned out to be more of a trek than we expected.

But luckily for us, there were small little restaurants like every 30 minutes. Yes, restaurants. With soup and noodles and meat. With tea and soda and beer. This is a real thing. 

The route was quite vertical in places and we were quite tired when we got to the top. But the view was totally worth it. Three-hundred and sixty degree views: beautiful.

We didn't stay long before we realized the top of the mountain was quickly vacating. We started the long hike down. Oh, the knees! We chased the sun down the mountain and around corners and finally made it back to a street light just as the sun had completely disappeared and we were now in the dark!

On our way down we realized we had no idea when the last bus left Songnisan. Luckily, we made it back in time. We even had time to take-in a bit of whatever this was:

We grabbed some juk at the convenience store before boarding the bus (which all came back-up about 30 minutes later because what was supposed to be a one hour and forty minute bus ride turned into an hour). Thanks crazy bus driver!

It was a rough ride home, but we collapsed happily once we got there.

And we've been moaning about our aching muscles ever since.


Carley Brown said...

What a fun day! I loved all the pictures and video. Great way to celebrate a birthday! The view looked spectacular