My legs are sore from thinking about the hike. Bukhansan is the tallest mountain within Seoul city limits, at 863 meters tall. Climbing it took about three hours and coming down took about two. I was able to climb it with a fellow Drexel student who was studying at HKUST who visited. It was a pretty challenging hike; the hiking path was divided into different sections, where the maps would label how difficult the next path would be. At first, it wasn’t that bad, as there were only inclines to walk up on. Progressively, there were only stairs, then it was only rocks. A lot of breaks were taken on the way up. About 100 meters to the top away, the climb was so steep and slippery that there were ropes installed to assist in the climb. However, once at the top, the breath of fresh air was so satisfying as well as the views. These pictures do no justice to witnessing the views in person.
The way back down was not too bad, except for the frequent cramping between the group. We also found a wonderful little shack that sold water and snacks, which proved to be very useful. We sat around enjoying water and ice cream, to replenish our energy to make our way down.
There was also a nice surprise along the way. About 30 minutes into the hike, we stumbled upon a Buddhist temple. The area was quite wonderful and serene and it also allowed me to get in further touch with my religion. After a long day’s worth of hiking, we built such an appetite that the only appropriate thing to do was to grab all you can eat barbecue. It was easily the most satisfying Korean barbecue has ever been.
The hiking scene is pretty big in Korea. SNU is located on Gwanak Mountain, which is also a popular destination for hikers all over Seoul. One morning when I was returning to campus, the bus I took was filled with older people in hiking gear ready to hike up campus. Hiking up the mountain is a regular activity for students here on campus.
So there you have it. I hope if you do decide to come to Korea that you take up on the hiking opportunities that are abundant in Seoul. It’s a great way to enjoy what nature has to offer and to get in your daily steps.