Wednesday, October 19, 2011

설악산 (Seoraksan)!!!!

Another to-do-in-Korea item is checked off my list. I hiked Seoraksan! Yay!

It wasn't easy. We hopped on a bus in Seoul at 11:30pm, got maybe 3 hours of sleep, and began hiking at 3:30am. Justin and I were finished at about 3 in the afternoon. It was a long hike, exacerbated by the hundreds (if not thousands) of other hikers we encountered along the way. There were times when we stood in line for 5 minutes, just waiting to go up another two or three steps. The peak was foggy and very cold. Going down was *hell*--my knee was screaming and there were too many stairs. HOWEVER, I am extremely happy to have completed the hike and to have seen the beautiful fall colors the mountain was able to share with us. I kept telling myself it was a once in a lifetime experience---I'll probably never hike with that many people again--and to embrace the Korean hiking culture.

PICTURES!  More can be found HERE.

[The beginning. It's dark. That's me, 
Justin, Spenser, and Ellen, if you can't tell.]

[Hiking in the dark. People.]

[Hey! It's getting light! There are still a lot of people!]

[Even behind us!]

[At least it's beautiful!]

[Almost there---you can tell because it's SUPER foggy!]

[The peak! People! Madnesssss!]

[Made it to the top!]

[Happy Hikers!]

[Heading down. The skies were beginning to clear.]

[Happy to be in a little sunshine!]

[The view. WORTH IT.]

[The start of a most beautiful valley.]


[I think this was basically the end. Happppppy Girl.]

                        [Thanks for being pretty, Leaves.]

[The view from below. I don't think that's the mountain
we hiked, but it sure is gorgeous in the sun!]

[The next day at the beach. Sun and fun!]

[Achy muscles but reallllly happy minds and spirits.]

Monday, October 10, 2011

무의도 (Muuido!)

Two weekends ago (I know, I'm late with the update...) was a long weekend, thanks to Korea's National Foundation Day. We didn't have to work Monday, so why not get out of town? Justin, Spenser, "Ellen" (Spenser's girlfriend), and myself headed to Muuido for a little camping and beach wandering.

Muuido is an island off of Incheon. It only takes about 3 minutes on a ferry to get there, then a short bus ride to the other side of the island. However, it's a long subway ride out to Incheon (you may remember that this is where the airport is.) SO, an easy trip for Seoul-ites, but a little longer for us in Suwon. It's definitely worth it, though. Muuido is host to several little "huts" that you can rent for 30,000Won a night. Or, you can camp right on the beach. Spenser and Ellen chose the hut while Justin and I pitched a tent. Both were great!

The bonus of the trip was the FISH FESTIVAL on Monday that we knew nothing about prior to arrival. Turns out, several hundreds (maybe thousands) of Koreans venture out to Muuido on October 3rd to catch fish with their HANDS. Mind you, the event organizers had set up a big net to catch the fish as the tide went out........but it was still pretty entertaining and hilarious. 

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip. More can be seen HERE.

See the ferry? See the island? (Shouldn't they just build a bridge?)

 Spenser and Ellen on the ferry!

 Korean-style camping. I saw tents that were even bigger than these.

Hanging out on the beach at sunset? Wonderful.


Later that evening in the hut. Quite small, but it had heat! 
Ellen taught us how to play "Go Stop," a Korean card game. 

 The view from our hike on Sunday

Feeling strong. And pirate-y, apparently?

The cutest caterpillar you'll ever find! It was on Justin's shirt.

The requisite dancing picture.

Showing Spenser how it's done!

Justin and I went on an evening walk down the beach
and were fortunate to catch this sunset. 

This is what we woke up to on Monday! Ahhhh! INVASION!

Everyone was held behind the line of tape--no one
allowed on the beach to have a head start on the fishing! 

The beach before....

And AFTER the whistle was blown

Catching fish!

Nice job, Spenser! You caught a good one. 

The group!

Thank you, Muuido!

So, that was that. Last weekend was a little more relaxed--Seoul and a Suwon festival on Saturday and relaxation on Sunday. This week is a little more busy for me because one of my coworkers is on vacation. We all have to cover his classes and I get a MWF, meaning I don't have a dinner break those days. Oh, pooooooor me. HA. I just have to remind myself that I'm still teaching less than I did last year.

This upcoming weekend, I am FINALLY going to SEORAKSAN!!!!! We'll take the bus overnight Friday and start hiking a big hike before dawn. I'm hoping to see a lot of beautiful scenery and changing fall leaves. The hike is definitely going to be a challenge, as I'm not exactly in the best hiking shape....but I know it will be worth my aching muscles. Wish me luck!