Anonymous of Holland            -A Dutchman in Korea-

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Mountain Hiking in Korea

Last Monday, we were invited by the Senior Pastor to join him in hiking up Cheongwansan Mountain in Jeollanam-do, about an hours’ ride from Wando. Cheongwansan is famous for its hundreds of square meters of reed fields at the summit, which is 723 meters high.

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It’s also famous because it was featured on the best viewed Korean show of the past decade: 2 Days 1 Night.
Lee Seung Gi (<3) and the other MCs climbed this very mountain.

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We left together with a lot of townspeople (all ajummas, of course) around 9:00, and by the time we got there it was around noon. Which, of course, is a horrible time to be climbing a mountain because it’s when the sun is at its peak so basically you’re climbing DIRECTLY INTO THE SUN.
Considering my hatred of heat and the fact that I even brought a sweater because the Senior Pastor had told us it might be SUPER COLD at the summit, I think I didn’t even complain all that much.
But naturally there was a lot of complaining.

This was actually the first time I ever climbed a mountain, and even though it was clearly easy mode (there were some stairs, and the mountain wasn’t that steep) it was still quite tiring and especially kind of dangerous since there weren’t any security measures. So basically, if you fell down, you…fall down…a long, long way down.
Luckily, nothing happened, and luckily my body could somewhat cope with the climbing. Anne was like a friggin’ mountain climbing monkey though, so it was a bit embarrassing when I couldn’t keep up to her.

The mountain climbing itself was…well..dull. I don’t think people climb mountains for the climbing itself. It’s boring, arduous, and tiring and just not worth the effort. However, the views…oh my God. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something as beautiful in my entire life. From the top of Cheonngwansan Mountain, you could see the little downs at its foot, and beyond that the other islands with even more little towns, and beyond that the big wide ocean. It was a sight I won’t soon forget.

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Scattered across the mountain, there were also a lot of ‘wishing piles’, piles of rocks on which one could put a smaller rock and make a wish.

When we reached the summit where the reed fields are, we stopped to have lunch. As I mentioned, Koreans REALLY like to eat, so even before we had lunch we were stuffed with food every time we took a rest from climbing.

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At the summit, there was also a rock with the name of the mountain on it, and pretty much all of the Koreans took a picture with it. Being the tourist that I am, I decided me and Ga Hui should also be in a picture with THE rock. While we were waiting for a group of Koreans to move on though, suddenly a guy called me.
“Handsome man!”
– …..me?
“Yes, handsome man! Come!”
I awkwardly walked up to the group that was posing with the rock.
“Come, come come!”
So..yeah…we ended up with this, lol:

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After lunch is when things got a little sketchy. Immediately after, we were confused about whether or not the Pastor had gone ahead of us, or back the same way we came. Luckily, we met him after we walked on for about 10 minutes, and then he explained the route we’d take.
We, however, aren’t very good with directions..
Which is why we ended up taking a wrong path down.
And let me tell you, descending a mountain is FRIGGIN’ SUPER SCARY. Seriously, my legs were shaking under me every now and then. It might be because it was my first time, but goddamn… When we reached a point where we could see cars, I was so happy to be down.

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But then, when we saw the map, we realized we were only half-way. And when we didn’t see anyone from the Church (they usually waited every X meters) we realized…we were screwed.
There was no way we were going to go back up to go down again on the right path, so we called the Church to get the number of the Senior Pastor so we could let him know where we were….but there was no answer, since it was Foundation Day and everyone had a day off.

Luckily, we asked some people about the best way down to our meeting point, and they said that it’d take at least 2 hours to walk there, so they’d take us in their car. That was a friggin’ Godsend, because I really, really, really didn’t want to walk down the other half of the mountain, let alone an extra 2 hours to get to the meeting point.

So these fine gentlemen dropped us off at the meeting point, where we arrived even before some of the townspeople, and all was well.

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This entry was posted on 7 October 2011 by in Korea, Travel and tagged , , , , , .

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