I couldn’t decide which pictures to leave out for this day’s hike up to the #3 peak in South Korea, so I’m going to split the day into two and let the images tell most of the tale. Hope you like them.
First, though, a quick shout-out to my parents, Cliff and Yvonne, who celebrated their 50th anniversary in Brisbane on the weekend, which just goes to show that I can’t blame my apparently terminal bachelorhood on genetics. They’ve been a wonderful team and have been very supportive parents. This (admittedly terrible) picture of a few years back shows them just about to set off on one of the epic multi-week forays into the desert they undertake periodically. I stayed home and froze.
If that “50th anniversary” phrase sounds familiar, that might be because it roughly coincides with that of a certain Liverpudlian outfit’s first single, Love Me Do. I know this because I watch a lot of BBC here and I played the song for some students (never heard it!) in an after-school conversation class yesterday. For some more historical perspective, I was born just a week before the Fab Four played Brisbane — the poor buggers did two nights there!
The group had arrived in the city just after midnight, and were greeted at the airport by 8,000 fans. They were paraded in an open-top truck, but were pelted with food and bits of wood by some Beatles haters in the crowd.
The Beatles were quickly taken to their hotel – aptly named Lennons – where they declared there would be “no more unscheduled appearances. For as long as we’re in Brisbane, it’s the hotel and hall for us”.
The two concerts at the Festival Hall were each seen by 5,500 people, and all tickets sold out well in advance. Once again they were subjected to eggs thrown at the stage, although The Beatles played on and the miscreants were swiftly ejected from the venue ~ The Beatles Bible
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Seorak gets a lot of traffic. The path, in those areas that will support a path, is beautifully made of rough flagstones, often bordered with walled embankments, even up in the more remote sections. The lower stretches often require iron walkways and steps, as the trail follows and crosses a beautiful creek up through high-walled gorges.
The walls of the gorge were increasingly coloured, as I gained some height, by early-autumn foliage.
The creek was delightful, and here and there groups of walkers were happily ignoring the rope barriers to picnic on the banks. I passed several beautiful green pools carved out over millennia. Swimming is not allowed in the park (a great idea — I’ve seen what happens to popular waterways in Korea on hot days), but if I were alone up there…
It was around 10km to my destination. I had over-packed (food mostly) and came to regret it. But not yet…
The trouble, for a Southern Hemisphere native, was the increasingly intense colour all around me. It meant frequent distractions and photo stops. Them’s the breaks.
I now know that the Korean word for “maple” is danpung: 단풍. I know because successive roomfuls of students have shouted it at me, laughing at my ineptness in deciphering the intricacies of their pronunciation. (I can also add, as an aside, that “rice cake” is ddeok. Yes, stupid me not picking up yesterday, as I tried to write it on the board, the difference between d and dd…)
How’s that for a view? Not a pylon to be seen:
After an hour or so I left the water and the traipse turned into a serious, if extremely scenic hike.
Reaching the ridge at last was a most welcome milestone. I was pretty beat, and climbed up onto this little observation deck to rest. There was a friendly group of young Germans and their Brazilian friend up there, engineering students from a university down south, with excellent English as always.
The sunny skies were clouding over, but the views were still amazing.
Moving on, I started regretting all that food on my back. At last I found myself sitting on a log feasting on peanut butter and bananas, feeling a lot better as I watched the painful progress of a walker I’d met below. A monstrous, positively tumescent Lowe pack that he’d had for 25 years protruded a good 30cm above his head. He was hurting, and stopped frequently, apparently pondering the meaning of it all.
“It’s a very good pack,” he’d said earlier.
Perhaps, perhaps. But so? That was me eight years ago and more. Suddenly my own pack felt like a feather pillow. I went racing onwards. I believe for a few seconds I was actually skipping…
~ And that’s all the Goat wrote