Chuseok Adventures: Part One

This past week marked one of the most important holidays of the year in Korea, Chuseok – or 추석 in Hangeul. This holiday is a harvest festival to celebrate the bounties of the year. Around this time in Korea, you’ll start to see food baskets–typically fruit, oils, or spam–yes, spam! Food prices shoot up as higher quality goods are available and demand rises. Chuseok also means 3-5 extra days off work, which was the perfect opportunity to go explore some more of Korea.


Some of the other foreign teachers from my town decided to head South for Jirisan National Park, one of the most famous places in Korea for mountain hiking. I joined in and was not disappointed. We stayed in a nice little hostel run by the wonderful Mr. Oh in the middle-of-nowhere, Gurye. From there, we accessed just one small portion of Jirisan National Park, including the Nogodan Peak. 

Gorgeous chicken pecking around the Gurye bus stop. Serious farmer envy.

The crew heading up to Nogodan.

Burial Mound on Nogodan Peak.

The very top of the peak is behind me. 

Beautiful views of Jirisan.

Up up and away!

Cloudy peak.

Mountain Flowers.

Albino Dino at the Nogodan Peak!

More views.

Represent!

Misty birds.

Rock piles on our way down.

Bridge to a temple.

Typically when I prepare for a hike, I know the way up will be the challenge but coming down will be a little easier. We all prepared ourselves for a swift descent down the mountain after a moderate hike up. Oh we were so wrong. We took the “Hwaeomsa Temple” route down, which would lead us to a beautiful temple site. 6.0 km, totally doable. 6.0 kilometres, as the crow flies, we discovered. 6.0 kilometres of winding, ultra-steep, jagged rocks. What we imagined would be a 1 hour descent turned into 2.5 hours of jumping rock to rock, praying that we didn’t lost our footing on the daunting trek. By the time we got down, it was getting close to dark so I spent just a few minutes exploring the temple. Overall, we clocked in at 25,000 steps, close to 16 kilometres. Not a bad first day of vacation!

Ornate gate to Hwaesoma temple.

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