Monday, June 11, 2012
Geumosan X 3
I was about to say I'm lucky enough to be living close to a great hiking spot - but in Korea I don't really think that's abnormal. Geumosan provincial park is basically in my backyard, however to get there I have to take two lovely buses. One to the train station and then another up to the base of the park. The base of Geumosan includes "Geumoland' which, as one of my students puts it is "the worlds smallest amusement park". I've yet to check it out but it seems to be more for little kids - lots of smaller rides, midway games and food, although in the winter there is an ice skating rink and toboggan hill so maybe I'll go then.
The main hike up Geumosan includes a few different things to stop and see along the way. It begins with the cable car office (where you can pay roughly $5 for a ride halfway up the mountain), next is the fortress wall and small temple, then the waterfall, or detour to the cave. This is a common stopping point for many but for those that continue there is a stone Buddha carving, pavilion and finally the summit (although I've yet to reach any of these).
I found myself again at Geumosan about a month ago with two friends from Korean class, after they helped me buy my bike in Gumi. I hadn't planned on hiking that afternoon but I was dressed appropriately and they invited me along, so why not. This time we made the small venture off course to check out the cave - pretty cool but also a bit scary at points making it there.
June came around along with it, Memorial day - which meant a nice mid-week break from work. Of course, worried that I might be bored and wanting me to experience Korea my principal invited me on a hike of Geumosan. I only had tentative plans to explore the parks and more of Gumi that day so I agreed to go along (let's face it there's not much saying 'no' to your principal here). I was picked up at 9am and we made our way to the mountain where we met up with his wife and friend. We began our hike with a lap around the lake - i'll have to go back and rent one of the swan paddle boats they have there (too cute). Again this time our destination was to be the waterfall - it's a nice halfway point for those not brave enough to go all the way. Although my companions seemed to be the eager ones before the start they're excitement soon wavered and their age may have gotten the best of them. By the time we made it up my principal told me we'd be taking the cable car back down - as he put it "i'm old and tired and hungry!"
View from the other side
If the weather (and my father) cooperate my next hike up Geumosan is planned for this Saturday, with the intent on making it to the top. As of now there is a forecast for rain so we'll wait and see - fingers crossed!