Monday, December 15, 2008

winter hiking

On the 6th I went on a hike with Adventure Korea to (대둔산) Daedunsan (san=Mountain) in Jeollabuk-do (do=province).It was an early start as we were picked up at the Gangnam Bus terminal at 8:30 AM. It was SO cold that morning, a windy -10 Celsius (or so). After a few hours on the bus we arrived at the mountain. It had warmed up quite a bit and the air was clean and fresh. Korea is mostly mountains, with something like only 25% of the land being usable. Most people live in a few very large cities (the largest being Seoul, of course). I love the countryside in Korea.
As it had snowed in that area just before the weekend, everything was still crisp and white. Beautiful. It certainly wouldn't have been the same if there was no snow. It would have been all just brown.
You can either hike up all the way, or take a cable car a huge portion of the way up (which was of course what we did).
[view from the cable car landing][sign says "A Path up a moutain, An Observatory, Boarding Gate]
Then the hike up starts with stairs. A long ways up, we reached the first suspension bridge.
Scary.[looking down - down in the center you can see people going up stairs][above the first bridge]Then more climbing and more stairs.[looking back down][looking back at the first suspension bridge][So glad there was snow!!!][view of the stairs from the side]
Further up we reached the second suspension bridge, which is in the form of very steep stairs. VERY scary. Not only am I afraid of heights, I also have a fear of stairs. I, of course, was the first one to go up.
A sign at the base of the bridge:
1. The 60 person is the maximum number for passing over the girder bridge at a time.
2. Don't shake and trifle on the girder bridge.
3. No passing the old, the weak, the drunken and the children.
Headman of wanju country.
The bridges both moved quite a bit.I was shaking quite a bit by the time I got to the top of the stairs bridge.From there it is still a ways yet up to the peak.Such beautiful views the entire way!!!
Then it was time to hike down. All the way down. Some people chose to take the cable car back down, most chose the hike.It was about a 2 to 3 hour hike to the bottom, going up and down following the ridge, on icy slopes,rocks, a few stairs, and along trails through the bamboo underbrush(bamboo is evergreen for those that don't know).What a wonderful day!!!
Thank goodness for the spikes we got for our shoes!!!!!

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