Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cirith Ungol

Stupid Tourist Saturday AND Sunday!

This weekend's adventures take us to Seoraskan National Park with Adventure Korea tours. I left the apartment at 6am hoping and praying that the buses and subway would be running. They were! They shut down at midnight but reopen at 6am.

I made it to the meeting point 15 minutes early and boarded the bus. The trip cost me 89,000 Won which included three meals, the charter bus ride, one nights lodging and a tour guide. Pretty good deal.

Seoraskan N.P. is located approximately three hours northeast of Seoul. Day One was a hike in the outer park. Seoraskan means snow so it was appropriate to do this hike in the winter months. The entrance to the trail is lined with souvenir shops, a three story Buddha, as well as a Buddhist temple. The trail was only 3.4 km but took just over two hours up and an hour back.

There were some breathtaking views of mountains leading up to the vertical rock wall that we were about to ascend.
On the way up we also past the tottering rock. With a little muscle I was able to make it move. There were more than 800 stairs at a 17 percent grade up the side of the mountain. It made me think of Frodo and Sam and the stairs of Cirith Ungol.

Under the metal stairs were remnants of the cement stairs that had predated the metal ones and occasionally I caught glimpses of the wooden ladders that predated the cement stairs. The metal stairs really didn't feel comfortingly safe and the cement and wooden ones looked even worse.

I wonder now who built the stairs. Many projects like that in the States were expertly constructed by the CCC which was the brainchild of President Roosevelt. Did Korea have a CCC?

Once at the top we battled a snow squall.

What a difference five minutes makes when you're on the top of a mountain.
Once it cleared up enough, we could just make out the East Sea. They say on a clear day, you can see all the way to Japan.

After the grueling hike I bought a nut roll from a trail side vendor. Homemade version of a PayDay. Pretty good.

1 comment:


Maybe if you want to give up teaching there for a year or so, you could become a tour guide!!
Awesome scenery and adventures for you........Thanks so much for sharing them with us!!