I went hiking this weekend. I’d love to be able to describe exactly where I went, but I honestly don’t know. I know it was to the West of Busan and it was in islands called Saryando and Tongyeong. Nice neck of the woods.
My weekend went as follows. On Friday I took the bus/metro from Suwon to Taerung station in Seoul to meet Dave (where I slept for the night). It takes about 1h45 to make the trip over, in case you were wondering. Then Dave and I went for some drinks and wings at a local restaurant and stumbled back home at 1:30-ish to welcoming beds (I think my bed was a bit more welcoming because Dave’s wife Lisa was unimpressed by drunk-Dave’s super late arrival and shenanigans). We got up at 5:30am on Saturday morning to make it to where we were leaving from by 7am. You can be sure I slept the majority of the 4-ish hour bus ride to our hiking destination.
After a restaurant break, we boarded a ship for Saryando where we’d do our first hike. There were 3 groups (A, B and C) each with varying difficulty levels. Maybe it’s because I’ve never really hiked, but I figured that I’ve been walking for the better part of 22 years, so I my walking skills must be pretty good. Naturally, I went with group A; the advanced group. Turns out it was a good choice because while the hike was tiring at times, it was challenging and the scenery was spectacular. It put my years of experience walking to the test. And I passed with flying colours.
Koreans take their hiking seriously. I’ll have to get into it in greater detail later, but they are decked out when they go hiking. I looked like such an amateur next to the people in Group A with my blue MEC jacket, tuque (it was cold at the start), canvas pants and Bishop’s University backpack.
Maybe 20 minutes before the end of the hike, our group passed a makgoli tent. Picture a beer tent in the mountains that serves unfiltered rice alcohol for a couple bucks. Naturally, we grabbed some refreshments and finished out trek.
After the trip we hung with the other groups around on the pier waiting for the boat and looking at crazy Korean seafood (and how it’s prepared/eaten).
After a good night’s sleep on the floor (we were 3 per room in the motel), at 5:30am on Sunday morning, we got up and went to hike our second island; Yeonhwado. The boat left at 6:50am, so we got to see a beautiful sunrise framed by roughed mountains on the sea.
The Sunday hike was at a much slower pace, but still beautiful and enjoyable. These islands are mostly jagged rocks, trees and wildlife, so it’s pretty spectacular.
After our second hike, we boarded a boat back to the mainland. Here begins the worst part of the trip. We got on the boat at 1:45pm, got to mainland at around 3pm and we left for Seoul immediately. We only got to Gyonggi-do (my province, it surrounds Seoul) at around 8pm. Luckily I got dropped off earlier so I didn’t have to take take an hour metro ride back home, but I only got home at 10pm. Traffic was so backed up, it doubled our travel time. That was pretty rough. But if you think about it, we travelled across the entire country, which is amazing if you’re from Canada (or the States).