Gyeryongsan National Park

Zoe and I got our first taste of Korean hiking today. We drove about and hour and a half south of here to Gyeryonsan National Park to hike for the day. It was pretty cold this morning, but promised to be a sunny if not warm day. We found the park easily as there was great signage the whole way. I had been to their website and picked out a hiking route that was said to take 4 hours for the average hiker….a nice loop past a temple, up to a peak, along a ridge, near some pagodas and back down. Well, the temple was really nice and so were all the people on the trail, but it was sooooo super steep up to the peak! The whole trail was ‘paved’ with boulders which made it like climbing up stairs the whole way. We met some great folks on the way up, though. One was a group of adults who stopped at the same place near a waterfallm for lunch and gave us a tangerine. Then, when the trail got super steep, we ran into some nuns from the temple who asked us to take a break, have some tea, eat some apples, and then they carried Zoe up about a 1/2 km! I guess there are about 100 Buddhist nuns that live at the temple; they were so nice. At the top we hung out with a bunch of teenagers who enjoyed watching Zoe run around the pagoda like a nut. They also gave us another tangerine, and an older man gave us some korean jelly-candy; I must look unprepared or something as everyone kept wanting to give us food. Zoe fell asleep in the backpack on the way down. I decided to go back the way we came since it took us 3 hours just to get to the peak which was 1/3 of the way around my planned loop trail. Based on the trail signs it was about 4 km to the top for a total of 8 km out and back…so the website had some mislabelling, or something lost in translation about the loop it recommended. Anyway, the loop would be a lot of fun AND WORK for Bryan and I to do together if we could switch who was carrying Zoe. She started to get really heavy in the kiddo backpack, and the way down was scarier than the way up; I felt very top heavy and unbalanced with a 30 pound kid and backpack on. I just took it slow, though, and got a couple more free tangerines from other hikers =) Zoe fell asleep on the hike down. Near the bottom I woke her to change her diaper and let her hike out to burn some energy for the ride home. She snacked all the drive home and was happy! We had such a great day.

PICTURES

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