Our route: http://app.strava.com/activities/84293192
Still catching up on the blog!
Sara and I went to Bukhansan National Park, which is located right in Seoul. The highest peak around us is Bagundae Peak at 836m or over 2700ft. Now the hike was uphill for a long, long time. Getting to the park was easy as could be, especially with all the buses and subway station that is near the park entrance.
Upon exiting the subway, we saw a massive rainbow colored line of Korean hikers (they love to hike in Korea) wearing the best gear that money can buy. This lineup of 100 people was waiting for the bus to get to the park. Talk about crowded. Sara and I quickly realized that waiting for another 30-45min would not be worth it as it already takes us usually 1.5 to 2 hours to get around to most places in Seoul. We took a cab for 8000KRW directly to the park entrance and made our way to the trail head.
Now I love being outside, and quiet is paramount for me. The sheer amount of people that are in the park was insane. It was a never ending train of people the entire way up the mountain. Bukhansan National Park averages 5 million people a year. Quite the difference from any park in Canada, or when I was alone in Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland.
Sara and I made our way of the mountain, passing a lot of people, and just generally looking at the feet of the person in front of us. We took breaks to enjoy the the view and little “restricted” gate jumps to escape the chaos on the trail. As we approached the summit, the lineup increased dramatically. Now I understand why people are frustrated with the traffic jams on Everest.
As we made our way to the top, the Korean way of “every man for themselves” took root. We got pushed and shoved, no one had any patience for each other at all. Overall the experience of making it to the top was extremely short lived and I could not wait to get out of there.
We wanted to have lunch around the peak. I spotted a steep cliff face that I was positive we could down climb and sit perched on a ledge overlooking Seoul. As we made our way down and began eating, the ambitious Korean hikers spotted us and then contemplated making the 30ft down climb to our location. The hikers didn’t even try, they waved and gave us a thumbs up. This happened a few times over our lunch.
Sara relaxed on the ledge, and I went off to do some adventuring around the cliffs and to get a better view of Insubong. This peak neighbors Baegundae and is roughly 7 pitches of climbing. I need to climb it before I leave! I am in the process of trying to connect with other climbers in the area that are interested in doing it.
The descent took less time as we just needed to get out of the park before dark and making the trek home. The experience overall was exciting despite the sheer amount of people that made a hiking and nature into feeling like your in the subway at Seoul Station at rush hour.