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.|
|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 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.