Monday, 14 January 2013

Hwacheon Mountain Trout Festival: Part 1

A couple of weeks ago I went on a weekend trip with Seoul Hiking Group to Sancheoneo Ice Festival, which is held every year in the month of January. Located in the city of Hwacheon, in one of the coldest regions of South Korea, the festival holds a variety of events and activities, including sledding, ice-skating, ice sculpture galleries, and snowman-building. But its most popular activity is ice fishing, which takes place on the frozen river that runs through the city. Thousands of mountain trout are released into the river so that festival-goers can catch, cook and eat them as they please.
Here are some photos I took of the trip:

After a three-hour bus journey from Seoul we arrived at our pension, which was guarded by this white Jindo dog family.

The adult dogs seemed comfortable in the cold, but the puppies were shivering constantly, and their food was frozen solid. I really wanted to wrap one up in my scarf and take it home.
Approaching the festival via the streets of Hwacheon City.
The frozen river was thronged with festival-goers. Apparently the festival receives over a million visitors each year.
Some Koreans playing ice soccer, which I would wind up playing the next day. 
There was a lot of snow on our first day, and it was possibly the coldest weather I've ever experienced. I wore six layers of socks and my toes were still numb! It didn't help that I had flu during the trip.
We soon arrived at a spot where we could start our ice fishing attempts. 
It wasn't long before some of us started to reel in some mountain trout.
Here I am with my catch. 
There was a little restaurant nearby where you could have your fish seasoned and cooked. Mine tasted a lot more delicious than it might look in this photo.
The festival also provides the opportunity to catch some trout with your bare hands in freezing cold water. I really wanted to try this but I was too ill and didn't want to risk putting my body through those kinds of conditions.
You could also try out crane-guided hang-gliding.
An icy palace.

Entering the frozen hideout.

Back out on the river, some zipliners soar through the valley.
Sunset over the ice-fishers.


At night, back in Hwacheon. 
Hwacheon Pagoda.

Click here to continue the adventure in Part 2!

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