Saturday, March 10, 2007


We left our dormitory at about 7am this morning for the Bukhansan National Park. We took the subway from Hoegi to Dubong station and then got on a taxi to one of the nearest entrance to the park. "북한산국립공원 가장 가까운 입구에 가주세요.", I told the taxi driver. Initially I was afraid that he didn't quite understand my Korean but was relieved when we finally arrived at a road leading up to the park 10 mins later. Frankly If you ask me now which entrance did we use to go up, I won't know.

It cannot be wrong. We are definitely at the Bukhansan National Park.

We had our breakfast at one of the eating houses at the base and bought 3 rolls of kimbap for our snack later. By about 8:30am we were ready to make our way up the mountain. Our day journey started with a walk up a sloped road that led to a resting area and a car park at the top. I thought walking up the road was the easiest part. At least the road was flat and even. The challenge has yet to begin. The morning air was chilly and refreshing but I was perspiring profusely inside my clothing. I guess it is a sign that I seldom exercise. But all was worth it as I was enjoying every bit of the nature as I walked up the slope.

Walking up the sloped road was the easiest part.

Walking backward up the slope when my calf muscles started aching.

A small rocky stream by the side of the road.

A pool of clear stream water. Swimming is prohibited though.

Ice forming on the rocks. You should know how cold it was.

After about 45 mins of journey, we arrived at the resting area. Many mountain hikers have already gathered there for their weekend leisure. We took a short break to rest our tired legs and replenished our body liquid. When we were ready to move on again, we followed behind a group of mountain hikers and made our way pass the gantry guarded by the mountain rangers. As we slowly made our ascent up the mountain track, thing got a bit more challenging. The track was rocky and uneven. We have to watch our every step carefully to avoid sprained ankle or other injury.

Mountain hiking is just one of those weekend leisure for the Koreans.

Rangers guarding the gantry to the mountain track.

We followed behind this group of mountain hikers. They were so agile.

Thing got a bit more challenging when we walked on the mountain track.

At 836.5m, the Baegundae Peak is the highest peak in Bukhansan.

The track became steeper and the climb became arduous as we came closer to one of the peak. Frankly, we did not know what peak we were going up. However, we were very sure that it was not the Baegundae Peak (백운대-白雲臺). The Baegundae Peak looked awesome and intimidating from afar. Despite that, we actually saw some adventurous people, hanging by the rope, scaling the peak. As we climbed up the slope to the unknown peak, the wind was blowing stronger and my hands were freezing. At certain points, I have to hold on to tree trunk to pull myself up the slope.

We took the track behind the directional sign to the unknown peak.

The trees look like they were hanging precariously over the side.

As the view started to open out, I knew we were near to the peak.

It was windy and freezing cold at the highest point of our journey. We did not make an attempt to reach the peak because firstly we were not properly attired to make the final ascent up the rock safely. Secondly, 우리 죽고 싶지 않아요 (we don't want to die). After we have our pictures taken, we went down to a clearing with benches to have some snack. When our leg muscles enjoyed enough of rest we made our descent.

Picture taken from the highest point that we reached for the day.

As we were making our descent, the sky started to break and we were all drenched by the time we reached the base. It was about 12:30pm then. So altogether we had spent about 4 hours in the mountain. Strangely, rain became snow while we were waiting for taxi to take us to the nearest subway station. But we were in no mood to watch the snow as we were all wet and cold. Despite that it was a good weekend morning workout for us. My lifestyle will be so much healthier if there are mountains to climb in Singapore.

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