Annyong our loyal blog readers.
Sorry for the delay, but after we hiked across Jirisan National Park last weekend, we came home to no Internet service and just now got it fixed.
So yes, we spent the weekend hiking–no I should say climbing–the second highest peak in Korea, Mount Jiri, with our friends, Sam and Rik.
It was incredible in many ways: the sheer brutality of climbing more than 6,000 feet (this mountain was just higher than our own Mount Mitchell back home); the friendly faces of Koreans who said hello along the trails and passed word on to the shelters that three Americans and a Dutchman were on the way; the 360-degree mountain and valley vistas, stretching as far as the eyes can see; the fresh smell of evergreens and wildflowers and wet bark; the whites, violets, and bright yellows of wildflowers springing up in the most unexpected crevices between peaks; and the stillness and quiet of nature, silent except for occasional conversations and the constant thumping of boots on rock.
Jirisan is the most famous national park in Korea. And now I can understand why. Hiking the expanse of the park from east to west (we hiked 42 kilometers, which was just short of the entire trail) in three days was no easy task. The amazing views came at a quite a price.
Whit and Rik were the real soldiers, carrying God knows how many pounds on their backs in large bulky packs as Sam and I shouldered small bags, and of course, always, my camera.
To give you an idea of our personalities on the trail, here are our trail names (thought of by me, of course, as I lagged behind the rest of the group taking photos as an excuse for stopping and catching my breath.)
Lindsay: Slow Train, given the slow lazy crawl of my pace.
Whit: Complainer, given the fact he refuses to utter just one complaint, ever.
Sam: Billy Goat, for her ability to climb steep terrain at marathon pace.
Rik: Moth Man, for his love of any bug, especially dead ones he can pick up and examine closely.
The three days of rough hiking and sleeping on floors were full of laughter and adventure and will definitely go down in the books as one of the best weekends we’ve had in Korea.