Thursday, October 11, 2007

Korea: Day Six: The Great Hike

Up around 7 - 7:30 (6:30 pm, Weds 10/10 at home). Had some fruit and yogurt for breakfast, followed by a grilled salami and cheese sandwich. That last part would be regrettable. We cleaned up the pan and headed out.

Once we got in the woods, we followed the signs that indicated "Mountain Climbing Trail" vs "Hiking Trail."
Which Way to Go?
This trail was strenuous from the very start, and probably not even 30 minutes in, I donated my breakfast to the mountain. I felt much better after that. The hike didn't get much easier. We eventually started hitting peaks, followed by shorter, less-strenuous ridges and climbs, (some with ropes attached to trees, to help out) to additional peaks. We eventually started seeing entrenchments along the ridgeline. Originally, we thought these were just Korean War remnants, but later found out that they were originally dug by the Chinese, but were currently still maintained and used for drills. There were other smaller, roundish ditches that we speculated may have been from mortar or artillery shells.

Figuring we'd hit the halfway spot on our map, and it being ~10:30, we thought we'd be finishing the hike back to the cabin in less time than it had taken to get that far.

(Phone call from Jennifer, about Mom)

It was definitely downhill from there, and at times so steep that the occasional slide happened. We went along for a while, and still didn't see anything familiar. It was probably at least 11:30 by now. We did see a highway, and the trail led out to that. We walked along the highway for probably close to two miles, before stopping at a gas station, and giving our taxi driver from the previous day a call.

The End of the Hike

About 15 minutes later, he picked us up and took us back to the cabins, probably at least a 20-25 minute drive, down one valley and back up into the neighboring valley. We were about 15 minutes late for checkout, so we hurriedly made sure that we had the cabin squared away while our cabbie waited. He took us back to the bus terminal, for about W70,000 total. Not a bad deal, really.

Got some bus tickets and some drinks for the 90 minute ride back to Seoul.

In the evening, Jason, Steve and I walked back up to the I-Park (Yongsan Station) mall for some souvenir hunting. The malls are noticeably different here in many ways. They're not freezing cold, there are at least twice as many sales associates than you'd find in an equivalently-sized American store. You'll also pay for your shopping bags.

I got a superhero action figure for T, and some nice oil pastel sticks for Z. Also picked up weird Asian snacks. Wasn't really satisfied with the stuff I've found yet. Wandered around restaurant row until we found something Steve could handle. Went to a Japanese place called Teriyaki. I had a bento box (sometimes referred to as a Japanese lunch box, which is nothing like an American lunch box.) It was excellent, a lot of different food, more than I could eat, and only W12,000.

We walked around the mall some more, with Jason failing in his attempt to get a Korean Starbucks mug for Christine.

Yongsan Station


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