Hiking Mt. Munsu & Soju

Who doesn’t love walking into work to learn you have tomorrow off for some random emergency, test, physical, or ceremony. Whatever the reason is I love it.  I guarantee it happens more here than any other job in the world. Yes, in the world. Founder’s Day. Hallelujah, no school, first sunny day in weeks, and the added bonus of snow still lying around from the day before. What to do? Check out Mt. Munsu, right in my backyard (sort of).

Koreans love hiking, and for good reason– there’s no escaping the mountains, they’re everywhere you look. I started off my trek…by cab… I know I’m lame, but obviously I didn’t know where I was going. Plus the cabby drove me about half way up. Bonus!

 However, walking in a mushy gushy muddy/snowy mix on a fairly steep mountain side where my shoes were making that annoying squashing sound as the water rushed between my toes with every step I took– not exactly the refreshing hike I envisioned. It did make for great views of the snow-covered mountains around me. I just wish my feet weren’t freezing!

Hiking Essentials

When Koreans hike they look like they are going out on a wilderness survival mission for a month. Either that or climbing Mt. Everest. It looks like North Face threw up on them. They’ve got the ultra warm coat, matching pants set, North Face pack with a water tube hanging across their shoulder, a fishermen’s style hat, kick ass hiking boots with attached clamps for the ‘icy’ conditions, and of course the outfit is finished off with two sturdy hiking poles that look more like ski poles to me. Don’t long sticks do the same thing?  Any Korean I passed on the hike thought I was mental. They want to know… what kind of hiker wears old sweats, wet muddy sneakers, a mismatched hat, layers upon layers (because I don’t have a coat),  and NO trusted hiking poles for my left AND right hand.

Ummmm…  maybe, someone up for a fun simple hike?

Victory Shots for EVERYONE

Hiking solo in Korea isn’t really a big deal. Because, once you make it the top, it’s a PARTY! I think I passed 5 people on my climb up but, once I got to the top… there were easily 30 people having a grand ol’ party. & Lucky for me, everyone’s invited. “SOJU, SOJU, WAYGOOK!”  “HELLLOOOOO, YOGI, YOGI!” (basically, foreigner get over here and drink!) After a couple victory shots, some chicken, some Korean pizza, some weird sugary pastry, and a few random photos with them, me, and a snowman— it was time to head back down.

Walking down I stopped off at a snowy temple with a gorgeous view of the mountains in the distance and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Maybe it was the Soju, or maybe it was the spirit of the Koreans, and the adventure of living everyday in a new culture. Nah.. probably just the Soju.

Nicky

The Snowman I Made at the Temple!

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