Mt. Seoraksan by Joshua

Seoraksan Trip Report

Written by Joshua Weissman

We left Seoul on an uncertain Saturday morning. After the

previous delay of our Seoraksan trip, we were excited to

attack the mountain's trails in favorable conditions. The

worry in the air was obvious as we eventually approached

the mountain in a downpour. After nervously munching on u-

dong and other foods at the base of the mountain, we

watched the skies empty. Adventure's hikers covered up in

a number of different-colored rain shells and set out for

the climb upwards.

While focused on the quick elevation gain, many of us were

slow to notice that the rain had disappeared among the

trees and the sun struggled to introduce us to the

mountain. We were rewarded once we broke above the tree-

line with our first view across the mountain's peaks.

After the photo opportunity, we set back to the trail

knowing we would need a decent pace to beat nightfall to

our shelter. The rest of the day was crisp and cool, and

we looked over the peaks into a bright white cloud. We

could see the potential a clear Sunday would bring.


As we scrambled into the shelter right around dusk on

Saturday, we settled into our very cozy rooms. We were

greeted warmly by Koreans giving us soju and a warm stove

to cook our rice and noodles. After some drinks and hot

food to unwind we crashed early to rest our bones and

muscles.


The next morning we awoke hearing the pleasant words, "you

can see the stars." We immediately knew that this meant a

promising Sunday, and crammed our feet back into our

hiking boots. We stumbled back up the trail as the light

slowly unfolded the path in front of us. We realized the

spectacular sights we had missed the day before. We saw

the jagged peaks stretching skywards on our right and the

East Sea calmly rolling on our left. After an hour, we

enthusiastically reached South Korea's third highest peak,

Daecheonbong. Surrounded by a mass of photo takers, we

watched the sun spread its inspiring oranges and yellows

above the sea as the wind smacked against our jackets. Any

of the daily grind that was bothering us before was gone

in this moment.

We went back to the shelter, stuffed in some food, and

prepared for our descent. While pushing our knees to their

limits, we looked ahead at the unique stone peaks in the

distance. We could see the formation to the north

resembling a dinosaur. Eventually, we reached the

beautiful Oreong waterfall. Later, we enjoyed the warm

embrace of the Cheonbuldong valley and the open trail and

the towering rocky walls around us. Near the end of a

stunning day, we soaked our sore feat in the stream below

the flat rocks of Biseondae.

Once the group got back to the trail, we passed the giant

Buddha statue and had our final photo opportunity in front

of the bear statue at the park entry. We loaded the bus

and enjoyed an all-you-can-eat bibimbap lunch. We then

snoozed and watched CNN as the bus crawled back to Seoul.

Our bodies ached but we were proud of the experience the

mountain had given us.