Last summer I made the responsible (albeit disappointing) choice to skip mudfest in lieu of staying healthy and climbing Bukhansan National Park’s highest peak, Baegundae. Leaving the following Thursday for an extreme trip through Vietnam I knew that I didn’t want to fight a multi-day hangover or any bruised limbs from the alcohol supported escapades at one of the dirtiest festivals in the world. As a result I offered to lead a hike up Baegundae with Seoul Hiking Group. That’s how Brian and I came to meet some new hiking buddies, Heidi & Jason!
The Korean language barrier presented some difficulties finding the right entrance. At first we ended up at the same entrance Brian & I had taken a few months back which was a 4 hour trek to the base of Baegundae. This time we were searching for the 1.5 hour route! Luckily my Korean was capable enough to buy a map and ask for directions so we quikcly found a cab and arrived at the Baegundae-Sogwicheon Information Center.
When first stepping on the trail we had roughly 500m of vertical remaining in the 835m climb up Baegundae. It began as rough cut stone steps and boulders surrounded by the natural beauty of Bukhansan in the summer. Green trees with the occasional flower flanked our path as the sweat rolled down our faces. Jason, a first time hiker was soon converted to a naturalist and took regular breaks to get a full feel for mother nature’s splendor.
A few minutes in we found ourselves at a “temple.” It had none of the usual pizazz with a bland roof instead of the typical painted parapet. We were greeted by two “mountain dogs” as a Korean woman approached. There was a small antechamber for prayer with a spectacular buddha but otherwise this locale appeared to be the simple residence of these pleasant folk. We played with the dogs for a few moments and said our thanks before continuing the trek.
2014 was my most traveled year yet. I had the good fortune to bring in the New Year in the Philippines before returning to my job in South Korea. Summer vacation was spent backpacking Vietnam and Chuseok (Korean thanksgiving) brought me to Japan. I ventured to Shanghai before heading back to America for the end of the year holidays and all along these crazy adventures my camera followed me. Tens of thousands of pictures were narrowed down to roughly 30 finalists before I selected my top 10 travel photos of 2014!
#8 is 2014’s best shot of Bukhansan National Park’s stunning view of Seoul. Oddly enough I just went back there yesterday and put together a similar panorama. Bukhansan National Park boasts the most visitors per square mile of any National Park worldwide with a half dozen subway stops that lead to trails!
With an extra day before school started again I decided on an impromtu trip to Bukhansan National Park. I grabbed my hiking buddy (and future roommate) Brian and we repeated our 2013 Xmas hike to the top of Juanbong on Dobongsan. I’ve been up this trail 4 or 5 times and its easily one of my favorites but this time brought an excitingly empty park. Between it being a snowy Tuesday and getting a late start we only saw a handful of other hikers and were lucky enough to have the entire peak to ourselves! Enjoy the photos and don’ forget to click on the panoramas for a chance to zoom around.
Spot the human #1
Hi Brian’s Mom!
Panorama with Seoul in the background
Sunset? Guess we should hike down before dark.
The peak was empty so I photoshopped myself in a few times 🙂
I need your help; I’m submitting some photos for a Korean Tourism Photo contest and can’t decide which photos to use! I narrowed it down to 10 choices but can only submit 5 photos. What are your favorites (pick up to 5)?
Last weekend I led a hike in Bukhansan National Park with some of my coworkers. This makes 5 times in Bukhansan and still love it! The first Spring Sunday made for a delightful hike despite the crowd and some hazy views. Along the way we saw beautiful forests, temples and some climbers even crazier than us! The temple was decked out with pink lanterns in what we think was getting ready for Buddha’s Birthday and provided a welcome reprieve from the swarm of Koreans.
Ever since my last hike I’ve been practicing using manual focus so I hope you enjoy this photo walk along the trails (and off a few) with Brian, Steph and Evan!