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Sunday, August 8, 2010

So Many People...

Over the weekend, Mike & I attempted the Dobangsan hike in Bukhasan National Park, just north of Seoul. One of the great parts of Seoul that we are discovering is that you truly do not need a car. Yes, major city attractions are available by subway/ bus, but the mountains and national parks are as well.

Korea has many National Parks, some several hours away, but just the handful around Seoul will keep up occupied for many months.

Additionally, summer is extremely humid..."sweat continuously running down your face like never before humid." We will have to go back and visit in the fall, which is a beautiful time in Korea.

So, we took line 4 (I think) up to Dobongsan, and quickly found that we were not the only ones headed there. Many of the books warned us that "the wekends brings hordes of well-equipped hikers to many of the mountains around Seoul." Well, they didn't lie...many hikers. Luckily, I don't think many Koreans wake up too early (as compared to Mike & I's 5AM wake up call we are used to), so it was much more crowded when we left the park after 2PM.

All along the walkway from the subway to the park are vendors with fresh food and many mountain/ outdoors vendors and stores. "Red Face" is a famous brand here and suspiciuosly has a logo similar to North Face. On one street, a Red Face store sat right next to a North Face store...some healthy competition here. You can easily pick something up for lunch here and even get some alcohol. Unknowlingly, Mike and I picked up some mid-Sunday alcohol for ourselves. It was Makgeoli and was just 1500 kwon for a whole bottle (~$1.20). Makgeoli is a un-filtered, carbonated rice wine...and it grows on you after the third glass.

Bukhansan National Park is very mountainous. As we have found with several other parks we have gone too, these are not leisurely hikes with gradual ascents, but 2000ft in less than 2 miles, with boulders, rocks and not much dirt. Needless to say, it was challenging but very beautiful, with views of Seoul from the top. Here are some of the photos.

There are also many temples on the mountain. They are quite the hike. This type of worshipping takes significantly more dedication on a worshippers part than many of us Americans have experienced. The temples are amaking and well-preserved and taken-care-of.

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