August 30, 2015
Hey Andrea. Let’s hike up a mountain!
Okay. Have you ever hiked up a mountain before?
No. But I like hiking back home so how bad can it be?
Heh. “How bad can it be?” My host Se Na gave me directions to the mountain trail entrance. She used a temple as a landmark. Piece of cake.
Success! But where was the trail? There was a sign that blocked the road. A few translations came up with “grounds, worship, silence, spectator, forbidden.” Well that can’t be the right road. I asked help from a couple doing yard work at their home. The man looked at the map sketch Se Na gave me and explained I was not at the right temple. He walked me across the street and motioned where I should go, all the while talking in Korea. He watched as I went on my way until I couldn’t see him anymore.
Well crap. Did I go the wrong way? This is where Sena said the entrance was. Where does this trail lead?
Success again! This time I got the right temple.
The actual hike was a lot of fun aside from the 100% humidity and the fact I was wearing jeans, Chuck Taylors, and carrying a purse. A few side trips led me to some really cool sights. And seriously? What’s the deal with the exercise equipment ON THE MOUNTAIN? And there were multiple outdoor mini gyms. I passed at least three.
While I was huffing away, I passed by two older Korean men. They later passed me when I took a rest. As they passed, one of the men handed me two pieces of candy and told me, “It’s hard to reach the top.” Eventually we all reached a plateau where we sat and picked up a conversation. The other man gave me a bag of what looked like some brownish green liquid. Turns out it’s some kind of onion juice. “It’d be good if you drank it all,” he told me. Uhhh- ok. Down the hatch! It actually didn’t taste bad. I’d drink it again.
It was my second long conversation in Korean since I got here. They told me I should marry a nice Korean man, asked about my adoption and family back home, and talked about wild pigs that lived on the mountain. They also advised me that this was a good place to turn around and head back down.
I originally took this picture to try to capture the baller Korean hiking gear that everyone donned. Little did I know that these two men would turn a fun little hiking adventure into a lasting memory.