Hiking, Korea, Mountains
Comments 14

Seorak-San: Dramatic Daecheong-Bong #1

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.

Yes, it does get cool in Brisbane

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

* * * * *

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.

A flash of colour in the lower section

A moveable Korean pancake feast

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…

Nope, I didn’t pose it. A lucky landing?

A glimpse of walkway

You can see the need for steps

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.

The Lost World

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



    • Yessiree, I don’t know what they put in Snickerses, but I think most long-distance walkers (American ones anyway) I know would agree it’s one of the few trail snacks that doesn’t wear out its welcome after hundreds have been ingested! No matter how many I pack, I always regret not bringing more…

  1. Stunning photos of beautiful country! Thanks very much for taking me along for the hike, I enjoyed it tremendously!
    You do look cold in that photo of you with your parents in Brisbane. 😯 😛 😀

    Looking at your photos on the side…of those I saw Richard Hell and the Voidoids at NYC’s CBGB, and The Ramones at several locations around NY and NJ.
    Cool shows (as best as I can remember anyway)

    • Wow, really envious about Mr Hell, Esq! Ramones too, of course. I saw them twice in Sydney, once from a VIP balcony, once almost trampled to death in the mosh pit when I dropped my beer and stooped to pick it up…

      Glad you enjoyed that post; I think I’ll do # 2 tonight for reasons I’ll explain soon.

      Love the pictures of birds and gators on your site, by the way!

      • Around that same time I saw The Clash, Patti Smith and others. It was a fun time.
        Looking forward to your next installment and glad you like my gator and bird pics. 😀

      • Wow. I’m a huge fan of the early New York punk scene. I would say it still informs my whole outlook in a lot of areas.

  2. I like Snickers too although I haven’t quite managed to forgive them for changing their name. They used to be called Marathon over here. So much nicer.

    • I had a Snickers yesterday on a long and bizarre urban ramble in which I tried to locate a clothing store I like and found myself immersed in the industrial fringe of Busan. Only that Marathon Bar — yes, I like that — gave me the strength to carry on!

  3. Franko Paddo says

    “At last I found myself sitting on a log feasting on peanut butter and bananas”

    wow …just like Elvis.

    Pity he wasnt a walker …..otherwise he might have been with us now.

    ps: good photos

  4. I’m in the process of catching up all your posts I’ve missed, so you might see me again shortly! Fifty years of marriage? Wow! That’s impressive! I did ten and thought that was pretty good as I reached my long service leave.

    You’re right. Us chumps in the Southern Hemisphere don’t get those sort of colours! The landscape there looks quite pretty where ours seems to be brutal to look at! Still good, but just a different look.

    That bloke with the Lowe pack sounds like me. One day I’ll find the right UL pack for me. One day!

    They really engineered those stairs didn’t they? I’m used to seeing a more discreet timber type of set-up down here, but who knows what’s the best system…

    • Wow, you have been busy, haven’t you? I could never tolerate that much of my blog in one sitting!

      Ten years, eh? Well, at least you tried! I came close…once. Still a free-range goat, for better or worse…

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