Hiking, Korea, Mountains
Comments 9

Spring Snow & Frozen Fingers #2: Down

The conclusion of yesterday’s tale. Two posts in 24 hours = two consecutive days of doing something useful at work! This could be habit-forming…

So back I went along the ridge, down the foggy ruins of time (Bob Dylan), umbrella swishing nice cold raindrops into my eyes from low-hanging boughs. I dug my main camera back out of my pack, slung it round my neck and resumed my struggle against the forces of darkness — I mean the forces of moisture. I’m pretty reckless with that little machine, but I’d rather have it handy and risk a few raindrops than have to keep stopping and retrieving it.

The worst of the weather had passed, and I was enjoying myself again. I just love the forest when it reveals its sombre, brooding side.

Takes one to know one:

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Blazing through the Fog

The snowflakes had petered out, the stragglers dissolving beneath a light rain. My camera hand was functional, just, and I left the sodden glove off. Again and again I would pause, do the umbrella juggle and squat down for a closer look at things I’d had to rush past earlier. Gotta tell you, though, it’s murder on my knees when I finally stand up again:

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Drops, Droplets & Droplings

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Pine Cone & Stone Bowl

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Yellow Grass

I passed through the Dalek jamboree, slunk by the Lone Sentinel, and enjoyed the eerie mists of the dark woods below Yongji-Bong, silent but for the squelching of my running shoes and the patter of drops on the umbrella.

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Writhing Trunks

Just below the summit, a shadowy figure entered the frame, a face taking form to glower at me as it passed without a greeting:

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Fog Troll

The muddy final section before the summit:

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Climbing Aids

Yongji-Bong was fogged in, a few stray snowflakes still swirling on the cold breeze. The pavilion might have offered some shelter but any views of Jangyu and home were buried deep:

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A Jaunty Flag A-Flutterin’

This time I veered along a different ridge…

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Melting Snow

..adorned with fallen petals…

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Pink Trash

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After the Rain

..and descended down another muddy track to Jangyu Temple:

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Bent Temple

Jangyu-Sa was the first temple I visited in Korea. I used to go mental like any tourist with a camera in a beautiful old temple, but nowadays — and I mean this in the nicest possible way — I feel like I can capture far more of the real, contemporary Korea — the brash, unsubtle, earthy-to-a-fault, in-your-face Korea — in the wastelands and construction zones and grimy roadsides of my fast-changing neighbourhood.

Still, a quiet temple on a moody, broody Saturday morning is something to savour.

Does anyone remember the two temple dogs from my first visit last year? Well, last couple of times there’s only been one. This cutie might have remembered me, but the message painted on that tile (at many temples visitors can inscribe their own tile for a fee) means KEEP OUT!:

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White Dog

The resident Buddha, unfazed by the inclement conditions, glowed beautifully in the muted light…

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Sitting in the Rain

..while across hillsides still splashed with wild cherry, hints of Jangyu peeked through the cloud:

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Misty Hillsides

I dodged the last of the raindrops beneath the eaves of the massive temple gate. While I squatted there, a few crows appeared at the edge of the woods to dive and scream blue murder at each other over their scavenged spoils. Of course, as soon as I raised the camera they were outta there:

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Sepia Crow

Time for the homeward and downward stretch. I’d had enough of muddy paths (not ideal conditions for running shoes with lots of mesh but no tread whatsoever) and took to the road. For a road-walk, this hour of steep and winding descent, paralleling the relatively unspoiled upper stretches of Daecheong Creek, is not too bad at all.

Great slender-trunked, cream-flowered azaleas, cousins to the dominant hot-pink variety crowding the ridges, leaned over the verges, blossoms drooping with a morning’s rain. Birds were starting up in the woods.

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Roadside Lanterns

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Tribute Pebbles

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Hairpin Bend

The stream gurgled; further down, gathering strength and momentum, it would lurch over the rock faces of the Jangyu Cascades. A crowded nightmare on a hot summer weekend, they’d be deserted when I reached them today — another benefit of “bad weather”-hiking.

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Green & Gold

I was pretty tired when I reached level ground. I’d spent another absorbing hour shooting the rapids (photographically speaking) at the Cascades, this time without busting a rib on the slippery rock, and even the jackass in the white sports car who screeched maniacally up into the hills, burning rubber and chasing me into the roadside weeds, could not scare off the meditative calm I’d spent a long morning cultivating.

I leaped happily back onto the blacktop, flipped him the bird he so richly deserved, and walked on — whistling, contented, and looking forward to a well-deserved afternoon nap.

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote

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9 Comments

  1. You do like the umbrella don’t you? It sounds like a good idea for those steady rain, but not windy days when it’s hard to keep the photos coming. I always think wet ground looks better in pictures than dry, plus rocks look great wet! I was once told off by a photographer for taking photos of dry rocks in a river, she used to wet them before even bothering to take a picture. You’ve got it all worked out already with water on display!

    Great colours. Again…

    • My worst crime in the physical manipulation stakes has been moving a photogenic stick or leaf a few centimetres! Until now, that was between me and my priest…

      Yeah, I love an umbrella when the weather and location suit. Wind? Yeah, sucks. Coastal walking would be right out, and exposed ridges and summits etc. but in the shelter of a forest in the rain I’ll take an umbrella over a sweaty, claustrophobic rain jacket any day! Plus your equipment gets some shelter. Ray Jardine put me onto umbrellas: you’re not cut off from your surroundings as you are in a hood, though yeah, they can be a hassle when you’re juggling a camera as well. Finding the right one is you though – the balance between light and durable is tricky.

  2. Tremendous photographs, Goat! And manipulation of fine. All art is manipulation of one sort or another. ‘Art is a lie that tells the truth.’ (Picasso)

    • Tell me about it! I hate having to rely on bloody reading glasses. The worst things is when I’m “in the field” and attempting to text with my girlfriend without the pain of pulling the glasses out. All kinds of ridiculous things have been sent out while I hold the phone at arm’s length, squinting at blurry suggestions of letters. Fortunately she’s adept at deciphering my goofs!

      Today my glasses were missing in action while I was absorbed in photographing waterfalls. I’d almost given up on finding them when I somehow spotted them in the bottom of a pool beneath a cascade! Talk about mixed feelings…

      • Gosh, I hope you’ve got some good pix of this surrealistic scene… if you were able to point the camera in the right direction, that is…

      • Oh, yes, in true blogger fashion I immediately began constructing a blog post about my penchant for losing things!

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