We did something really special on Monday, as Amanda alluded to in her Seoul post. We decided to see what trouble we could get into just outside of Seoul, so we packed our day-packs and hopped on the bus bound for Bukhansan National Park. Supposedly Bukhansan is filled with tons of great hikes that probably don’t get enough attention. That said, we wanted to check out the very popular Baegundae Peak, the highest point in South Korea. It turns out we couldn’t have picked a better day or month to do it because the weather was excellent (it rained all Sunday) and the changing leaves were gorgeous.
It took about 5 hours round trip (not including bus time), probably only about a 5 mile hike but a very steep one. With all those calories being burned on the ascent, we consumed 3 rice triangles (not actual name), 2 kimbap rolls, 1 bag of Famous Amos cookies, 1 surprise bun with red bean filling (again, not actual name), 1 box of crackers, several liters of water, and some bonus makgeolli and fish jerky from some local hikers who were feeling kind enough to share theirs.
Once we made it to the last 0.3 kilometers, things got dicey. The top is a series of stairs, then cables, much life Half Dome in Yosemite. Though not technical (there’s no extra gear required), this is a hard hike, and not for someone afraid of heights.
We took advantage of the photo op at the 836 meter peak, and then consumed some of those aforementioned snacks.
With the sun setting, we took our time on the way down, our legs sufficiently beat and the colors of the leaves changing before our eyes.
The same local dude who later gave us rice wine first gave Amanda these knee braces. He didn’t speak a word of English, but could tell she was in need of some support. He stopped us several times during the descent, trying to tell us something clearly having to do with Amanda’s knees. Eventually he insisted we take his fresh pair of knee braces, which he just happened to be carrying in his pack. We’ve decided this act of generosity isn’t an isolated incident, and that people here in Korea really care about each other. I wish we had taken photos of our new friends!
I think these photos speak for themselves. Amanda and I feel like we leveled up yesterday, having accomplished something magical.