Monday, 3 December 2012

Night-hiking in Seoul

One of things I’ve been intending to do frequently during my time in Korea is to hike. There are many reasons why: it's a good way to meet new people and see different parts of the country, it gives me a brief respite from the hectic city life, it’s relatively easy on the wallet, it burns off some of those calories I acquire from the very wholesome Korean food, and most important of all, it’s fun!
Last Wednesday I went on my first hike via the Seoul Hiking Group on Facebook. It’s run by a local Korean named Warren, who, on top of his full-time job as a market analyst in the city, organises and leads most of the group’s trips, which take place every weekend and sometimes during the week. As you can imagine, he has a huge amount of passion and enthusiasm for hiking, which I’ve found very infectious. I really recommend that any Seoulites who haven’t already joined the group follow this link and do so.

This particular hike was a night-hike at Gwanaksan, a small mountain within Seoul. There were only five of us (the weekend hikes are usually much busier than this), and we left from Sadang station together.

A cool building with helipads, near Sadang Station. 
Entering Gwanaksan Park.
Climbing the rocky path up the mountain was a little tricky in the dark, but fortunately everyone (apart from me) was smart enough to bring lights.
Halfway up the mountain we found a little park to rest at. Apologies for the blurriness of some of these photos. It's tricky to take clear photos at night, especially when your camera's autofocus breaks down whenever there's the slightest bit of wind.
Elaine decided to do some hula-hooping to warm up. You can see Warren in the background.
At another point on the trail we found a rudimentary, outdoor kitchen.
Walking along the spine of the mountain. 
A helipad.

We found a nice vantage point to rest and admire the view of the night-time city. 

A small doorway below our feet. 
After eating some tangerines we made our descent back down the mountain.

Re-entering the city.
Heading back to the Metro.
And so ended my first hiking adventure in Korea. Brief though it was, it was a lot of fun, and I got to meet some really cool people who I'm sure I'll be hiking with again. It was also nice to get some real exercise for the first time in over a month (unless you count sightseeing and drinking as exercise). I'm already looking forward to embarking on longer, more challenging hikes to really test my mettle.

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