(7 Kms walking)
Saturday, 30 Sept, 2017
It was busy at breakfast with all groups trying to eat at the same time. At least we were out early enough to get a table. The guesthouse is incredibly popular.
We made a quick detour to Paris Baguettes for bread supplies and were at the bus stop minutes before the bus number 7-1 arrived heading for Seoraksan National Park. We passed an eMart hypermarket on the way so knew where to stop for provisions on the way back.
The Seoraksan car park was filling up as we arrived though there were still quite a few spots. It was just before 9am when we set off to hike to Ulsanbawi Rock. It was extremely windy and the cable car was closed. We hadn't planned to catch it, but assumed there would be many disappointed visitors.
We passed an enormous seated bronze buddha and the Sinheungsa temple. It was beautiful walking alongside the river, and not too many people yet. The path became rockier as we approached Heundeulbawi Rock. Apparently if you push it hard enough it will move, though no-one has yet managed to push it over.
An enormous seated bronze Buddha
View to the mountains of Seoraksan Nat Park
Little rock cairns along the track
One of the little rivers beside the track
Trying to move Heundeulbawi Rock. Not!
Then the real uphill began. Georgia counted 2042 steps to the top, with the last 1,000 over the last 400 metres. We stopped part way to admire the mountains and tried to work out how close we would get to the top.
The name Ulsanbawi implies that it looks like a fence and is also thought to mean crying mountain which is the sound the wind makes as it howls through the peaks. We climbed to 770 metres, with the peak being at 875 metres. The rock formation consists of 6 peaks of cliffs that are so steep that even birds cannot rest on them.
It was incredibly windy and we couldn't spend too long at the top, though we did find one area slightly out of the wind so we could fully appreciate the view. Across the valley we could see the Misiryeong Pass that we will be cycling up on Monday.
Almost being blown off the top
View down to the Misiryeong Pass
We hurried back down the stairs to get out of the wind. There were heaps of people heading up the stairs, of all ages and levels of fitness. We were pleased that we had missed the crowds.
The leaves along the river were just starting to change colour and you could imagine how beautiful it would look in Autumn. On the way down, Georgia found a naga-like dragon which brought back memories of our travels through Cambodia.
Georgia and her Naga
Back at the bottom we enjoyed an excellent coffee and blueberry smoothies at a cafe near the river. We wandered further downstream to find somewhere for lunch, and had the river to ourselves as the masses of Koreans kept to the paths. Many of them were using hiking poles and were wearing the best hiking gear. Definitely looking the part for a days hiking in the mountains.
A well earned coffee and smoothie
Lunch spot - upstream
Lunch spot - downstream
Georgia enjoying lunch by the river
The car park was heaving when we returned, with queues of vehicles waiting for a parking spot. A bus was filling up as we arrived, but we decided to wait for the next one, so we were gauranteed a seat. Lots of people got off in the nearby town, and the bus was half empty as it returned to Sokcho.
As planned, we hopped off near the supermarket and decided to make our own seafood pasta dinner with prawns, fresh tomatoes and shallots.