Sokcho is a great town, and the most fun place to visit in South Korea.. especially the best hike up a mountain I have ever had – in Seoraksan National Park.
Literally only a 15 minute ride out of town.. I had heard about this park many times before I came, and so glad I had the opportunity to experience it. It is summer rain season, but knowing I was about to board a very long boring ferry to Russia, I thought it would be best to expel as much energy as I could.. Good choice Sherri Jo!!
Expel massive amounts of energy I did!!!
They don’t hand out maps here, but from the board I could tell I wanted to do the 12 km hike.. no worries, I can do that easy! 24 km round trip.. I’m climbing up and up and getting sweatier and sweatier.. It starts to become a worry when you don’t have a map, not sure where you are going or where you might be along the path.
I have never seen graffiti like this before!
“An nyan has se yo” (Hello..!) The start carrying on in Korean, and I pipe up and say “Sorry, I speak English”.. These guys were happy to practice English on me, and they ask if I’m going up or going down. I say “Up!” They ask where, and I tell them.. Daescheongbong Peak..
They look at each other and they look at me and go “oohh, 8 hours”. I say now, it’s only 12 km, and I was guessing I only had 8 km to go.. They explain it’s very difficult, straight up..
I was concerned.. but Sherri Jo wanted a hike and she got one.. it turns out the more Koreans I pass, had actually spent the night out there. Finally came across an American, and he said he also stayed the night in a shelter, and advised me I was taking a lot on in one day.. But but it’s only 12 kms!! Oh well…by this time it was getting late, and I had only accomplished about 5 km.. I decided to at least make it to the shelter which was the 6.5 km point.. Up and back was a 6 hour journey all up, and pretty hard core on the up..
Must make comment.. that standard South Korean women’s dress is always inclusive of a super size sun visor!! They are really into sport clothes and sun visors, whether in city or country.. walking sticks as well – and doesn’t particularly matter if it’s night or day… every country has it’s own fashion style and I got a kick out of South Korean culture!
Ok – back to my own fashion culture which is a sweaty mess, I go to the bottom and back to my bike.. a young man came out to greet me.. He asked the usual questions, but he insisted I come in for a coffee or tea..
I was tired and wanted to get back to the Hostel, as Walter was arriving from the UK today with his bike as we travel to Russia together.. I thought it would be rude of me to be out running around!
But this man was so nice I had to oblige. Turns out they were having lunch – made by the monks from the temple!!
Lucky me! Very simple and delicious – a welcome treat with a fresh pot of Lotus Leaf tea.. from what I could work out with our limited ability to communicate with each other, lunch was little green balls that were Barley on the outside and ground chestnut on the inside.. yumm. And homemade bread roll.
I feel just as grateful as this guy does, but it was easier for me to take a photo of him… once I did ask for a photo, this is what I got..
Beggars can’t be choosers when you use sign language to ask for a photo! 😉