Chuseok Part 2: Day 1 of hiking at Seoraksan National Park

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After our lunch, we took the bus one stop up the hill to the end of the line, and the entrance to Seoraksan National Park. The 7 and the 7-1 bus run pretty frequently up the road, so there is no need to take a cab. And if you’re feeling energetic before you begin your hiking, it’s only about a 20-30 minute walk from the hotel. We actually walked home every day.

At 2,500 won, the entrance fee is super cheap. There are 4-5 different hikes that will take 2-3 hours each, that can all be accessed fairly close to the entrance. There are also a handful of one day hikes that we didn’t have time to explore. On day one, we went straight for the cable car ride to Gwongeumseong Fortress. A six minute cable car ride takes you way up the mountain, and all that’s left is a 20 minute hike up a little further. From the top of Dol Mountain the view is unreal. The fog was reflecting the sunlight as it rolled over the mountains, you could see the coast of Sokcho, and all the peaks and valleys on that side of the mountain.

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Apparently there are castle ruins up here somewhere, however we never saw them. Legend has it that 2 generals named Gwon and Kim built that castle to avoid war sometime between 918 – 1392.

I was very surprised that there were no railings or anything preventing you from you from tumbling off in to the depth of the cliffs. It seems like an accident waiting to happen, with so many little kids running around up there. Regardless of the safety standards in a Korean National Park, it’s extremely beautiful and scenic from way up there.

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Back at the bottom of the mountain, we chose the Biryong Falls Course as our final hike of the day. Spring and Summer are supposed to be the ideal times for this hike, as it begins by crossing a stream, I believe called Ssangcheon, that is all but dried up this time of year. It’s a fairly quick hike, we did the round trip in under 2 hours.

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About half way through the hike, we ran into a little station of restaurants and food stands, with a lady warning us not to stay out after 6pm because of the darkness and low visibility. How do we know this? Because she was saying over and over again, “6 time, 6 time”, as if it was some ominous warning that something horrible will happen if we are on the trail any later than 6pm. It was 5:20 at the time. We thought there was no way it would actually get dark at 6pm, because we were not going to be out of there by then, but we did kick the walking up a turbo notch.

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The falls themselves were a bit anti-climactic, being used to hikes like Silver Falls back home, but the hike leading to the falls was beautiful.

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We made it back to the entrance before 6:30, and sure enough, it was dark.

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After the 20-30 minute downhill hike back to Hotel Sorak Park, and a quick shower, we went back to the strip for dinner. We chose a different restaurant this time, and shared a seafood stew and potato pancake. Even though we were the only people in the restaurant, and it stunk a bit, I enjoyed this meal quite a bit more than the samgyeopsal earlier in the day. I love eating fresh seafood on the coast, and I really enjoy Korean soups and stews. This version had a variety of shellfish, I think clams, maybe muscles, and something else in a large shell. It also had a whole shrimp which we had to peel, and several octopus legs. I thought it was delicious. The potato pancake was really good as well, dipped in the spicy soy sauce that accompanied it.

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With full bellies, we picked up beer, soju and cookies at the 24 hour convenience mart and sat on the balcony for 2-3 hours, enjoying the full moon, clear sky, stars, and mountain silhouettes at night.

Next up, day 2 of hiking at Seoraksan National Park.

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~ by ripcitytoseoul on October 6, 2009.

3 Responses to “Chuseok Part 2: Day 1 of hiking at Seoraksan National Park”

  1. So fun to read your adventure… especially the part about what you ‘think’ the food was. 🙂 Which coast were you looking out at, east, south or west? My map didn’t tell which side Sokcho was on.

    Take care. Glad you’re having fun!

  2. […] part 1 Chuseok part 2 Chuseok part 3 Chuseok part […]

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