Mountains, Fireworks, & Beaches for Buddha’s Birthday – Seoraksan National Park with Seoul Hiking Group – A sneak peek

Thank you Buddha for being awesome, oh and happy birthday! This weekend I jumped on another night bus with Seoul Hiking Group and took a 15 hour, 25km trek into the mountains before some R&R on the beach. It was another incredible adventure watching the sun rise & fall over the ocean, a Korean mountain rescue, spotting a rattle snake, stunning views and an all around great time. Enjoy this sneak peek, more photos & a video coming “soon.”

Sunrise over the East Sea enroute to Seoraksan's toughest trail - Dinosaur Ridge.

Sunrise over the East Sea enroute to Seoraksan’s toughest trail – Dinosaur Ridge.

A new hiking buddy, Eric, enjoying the stunning views along Dinosaur Ridge, Seoraksan National Park

A new hiking buddy, Erik, enjoying the stunning views along Dinosaur Ridge, Seoraksan National Park

Mountain Rangers descend from a helicopter to help an old Korean man succumbed to heat exhaustion & dehydration along Dinosaur Ridge, the toughest trail in Seoraksan and possibly all of South Korea.

Mountain Rangers descend from a helicopter to help an old Korean man succumbed to heat exhaustion & dehydration along Dinosaur Ridge, the toughest trail in Seoraksan and possibly all of South Korea.

Hapojae Beach in Yangyang, South Korea.  Famous for the "finest sand" in all of Korea

Hajodae Beach in Yangyang, South Korea. Famous for the “finest sand” in all of Korea

Playing with long exposures & fireworks at hajodae beach, Yangyang South Korea

Playing with long exposures & fireworks at Hajodae beach, Yangyang South Korea

Jirisan: the ascent – Seoul Hiking Group

Getting on a bus at 10:30pm to wake up at 3:00am for a hike might not be most people’s idea of a great weekend but with Jirisan on the mind it sounded great to me!  I met Warren, Breanne (shoutout to you and the rest of the helpers cause you rule!) and the rest of the day’s crew at the bus; promptly fell asleep and woke to find myself entering Jirisan National Park with Seoul Hiking Group. The climb began in pitch black with numerous head lamps and flashlights.  I lent my extra torch to a rookie hiker after strapping my own head lamp on.  Jirisan is South Korea’s highest mainland peak (bested only by Hallasan on Jeju Island).  With my first starry sky in all too long I could quickly tell the way crazy morning would be worth it._DSC2425 The steep hike brought us higher and higher and by our second water break the birds began to sing and the black night reced, turning into deep blue as dusk showed its head.  Misty hills now visible in the distance, we kept climbing. _DSC2451 _DSC2431 Another hour and the sun began to crest with an orange glow.  The beautiful valleys below finally illuminated for a picturesque landscape.  The sun also revealed our daunting goal, Cheonwangbong, Jirisan’s illustrious highest peak! _DSC2467 _DSC2483 Stowing our headlamps and my tripod the hike kept going.  Our climb grew even more difficult as the rocky steps gave way for staircases and the occasional pole/rope series to pull ourselves up. _DSC2486 _DSC2479 _DSC2503 _DSC2504 We took regular breaks for our legs and delicious mountain water gave everyone a chance to get to know our fellow hikers.  The shining sun and light hearted spirit that nature brings out made the strain of the climb dissipate as we shared our hiking snacks and pushed upward! _DSC2507

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