Sanghwangbong Peak

Sara and I never plan on hiking but somehow we always end up on a dusty trail in blue jeans and tennis shoes with no food and no water and the sun setting quickly behind us.  Over the weekend we were killing time at Haeinsa temple waiting for the sun to set when we saw a hike that looked a decent distance.  4 km's sounds like nothing, an easy walk through a pretty forest alongside a scenic stream.  So we bought a couple waters, which we drank in the parking lot leading up to the hike, and headed into the hills.  It didn't take long to realize that this 4km hike was not going to be what we thought it was.  Through a forest, yes, alongside a stream, yeah, straight up?  We did not realize that would be the case.  Rock stairs, real stairs, steep slopes, this hike had it all, and half way in we were re-thinking taking this hike with so little preparation.  This feeling was of course compounded by the fact that every 10 minutes or so a group of Korean hikers would pass us completely decked out in gear.  Top to bottom, they were ready, from boots to hats, to hiking poles and water bottles, these people were prepared.  I don't speak much Korean but I'm pretty sure most of them were questioning our decision to attempt this hike in tennis shoes, blue jeans, and polo shirts.  In the end, Sara pushed us to the top and we were rewarded with the most spectacular view I've seen in Korea.  Rolling green hills forever, no cities to be seen, just nature.  If you have four hours or so, I can't recommend this hike enough.  The view at the top was more than worth the effort.  If you want to know how to find this hike, check out my map.  The custom icons don't always work, but if you click Songwonggang on the left side, you'll see a pin pop up right on the peak.  As always, here's 10 pictures and some foolish comments.



This was after about an hour and a half of hiking with a half hour to go.  Pretty amazing view though.
I couldn't get over how green and lush Korea is right now.  The trees all over are just bright, bright green.
There were a couple hundred meters where we were scrambling over rocks.  By the end my legs were burning and my ankles and knees were not happy.


Here I am at the top, trying to keep my legs from giving out and causing me to careen into the valley below.

Wonder Woman.




Pohang hasn't had a good blue sky like this in months, so it was a welcome sight.

I don't know these folks, but they were up at the top with us.  Take a look at the gear.  Boots, socks, pants, undershirt, shirt, gloves, backpacks, hats, and poles.  Easily five hundred dollars worth of gear and probably more.  But look at how happy they are.  Hiking always brings out the best.
In contrast to everybody else, here we are.  Jeans are not great for hiking and neither are these tennis shoes.
On the way down we took some time to enjoy the forest.

This is the beginning of the hike.  No hint to the difficulty of the hike ahead.

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