A warm, overcast weekend allowed for the perfect opportunity to go hiking. J and I headed to Mt. Gwanaksan in Gwacheon. I had heard that Gwanaksan was fairly easy and we thought we'd used it to warm up for a future trip to Seoraksan National Park. It was very easy to find, as I suppose most mountains are, but when we arrived at the base we remembered that we had no way of reading the maps or signs, all of which were written in Korean. We decided to just pick a trail at random, and go on from there.
It started out pretty easy and we were setting a fast pace, though the barbed wire fence that ran along one side of the path made me a little nervous. Before long though, the trail suddenly became much more challenging, with large smooth rock surfaces we had to sort of climb up. I figured it was just a small part of the trail and we kept up our quick pace until we realized that the entire trail seemed to be that way. We climbed and climbed, finding footholes and trees to grab a hold of here and there. Every so often we would stop to catch our breath and take a look at the view.
After perhaps an hour or so, we reached the top. Taking after a Korean couple we met up there, we laid down upon a boulder and closed our eyes. Sweaty and exhausted, we were pretty satisfied having convinced ourselves that we'd just completed the expert trail up Gwanaksan. That was until we looked over and saw another, higher peak with an even more difficult trail going up it. We watched as a small group of Koreans made their way down when all of a sudden a Korean woman, traversing her way down a large vertical boulder, fell head first. Fortunately, she wasn't badly injured and quickly picked herself up and kept going.
We finally found our way down and my clumsiness, which was so well-hidden on the way up, reared its ugly head and had me slipping a few times. All in all, it was a fun little excursion and we vowed to return, though to an easier trail next time.
It is the first week of the term! Here's my schedule:
We never did make it out to the lantern festival but I did take a picture of the lanterns that were up in the park by my apartment.