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Korea Gwangju Hiking Mudeungsan

19 March 2015

Rain gone, mountain time

I woke up excited, mountain day! I leapt out of bed and felt minor pain, in my ribs. My bed is so hard I believe I have bruised ribs whilst sleeping! I found this amusing.
So whilst confused as to what was going on with my ribs, I raced over to the window, pulled the curtains, no rain! Still low cloud, but streets look like it hasnt rained for a while.
Next I immediately checked the weather forecast on my computer, it stopped raining at 6am, no more rain, by 11am sunshine, awesome, to the mountains!

I meticulously planned a route starting from the back of the mountains, going up the side where I didnt expect there to be anyone, over the top of the various peaks, and then down to the main park gate where there would be thousands of buses waiting.
This worked perfectly, and paid off, except when I came up out of the subway I saw the right number bus coming, so I ran and got on it. And looked out the window. And saw familiar things. Things nearer my hotel than I expected. Yes, I had got on the bus going in the wrong direction.
So I crossed the road and got on the right bus, and we went around the back of the National park, whos mountain peaks are collectively called, Mudeungsan. The rear park gate is the last stop, and surprisingly, only 5 of us were on the bus.
Then the other 4 went to the nearby temple, so I was on my own, perfect!

I went overboard on photos.

Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - It was very quiet around the back of the national park, and still cloudy / foggy, but it burnt off fast. There was a small shop, selling me blue power

It was very quiet around the back of the national park, and still cloudy / foggy, but it burnt off fast.
There was a small shop, selling me blue powerade, pocari sweat and calorie balance bars. Everything one could want.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - This rock is the grave of a famed sword maker, whos handywork armed everyone in the region in the 1600's to repel the Japanese pirates who had made th

This rock is the grave of a famed sword maker, whos handywork armed everyone in the region in the 1600's to repel the Japanese pirates who had made their way from Busan to here over the wall.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - The path to the top was great fun. First I had moss covered rocks, very slippery. I enjoyed several near death experiences.

The path to the top was great fun. First I had moss covered rocks, very slippery. I enjoyed several near death experiences.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - Then the path turned into a stream. I guess thats what happens when it rains all day and night, the water has to go some place. This was no match for

Then the path turned into a stream. I guess thats what happens when it rains all day and night, the water has to go some place.
This was no match for my excellent boots, and it actually served a purpose of cleaning all the caked on mud from the lower sections of the climb.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - Things got a bit ridiculous when I had to climb up a waterfall covered by fallen branches.

Things got a bit ridiculous when I had to climb up a waterfall covered by fallen branches.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - If you look near the top, theres a cell phone tower, I thought this was my destination, turns out it wasnt.

If you look near the top, theres a cell phone tower, I thought this was my destination, turns out it wasnt.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - Those rocks would be my destination. I was excited.

Those rocks would be my destination. I was excited.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - By now I was already quite high, and breaking out of the trees to enjoy the excellent view. In all honesty, the climb was quite easy, even compared to

By now I was already quite high, and breaking out of the trees to enjoy the excellent view.
In all honesty, the climb was quite easy, even compared to a couple of the other climbs on this trip. It was longer, but not steep.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - And now some shots of the view from one of the lower peaks. I would head down over some of these parts later.

And now some shots of the view from one of the lower peaks. I would head down over some of these parts later.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - Gwangju, and the previously mentioned cell phone towers.

Gwangju, and the previously mentioned cell phone towers.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - The valley I had come up.

The valley I had come up.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - Panorama 1 for today, I think its a good one.

Panorama 1 for today, I think its a good one.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - I still had a bit more climbing to do.

I still had a bit more climbing to do.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - And now, kind of at the top....

And now, kind of at the top....


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - The real top, some 50 metres higher apparently, is military only.

The real top, some 50 metres higher apparently, is military only.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - It was a little annoying to not be allowed up the top. Throughout the day I could hear machine gun fire, and periodically loud speakers were shouting

It was a little annoying to not be allowed up the top. Throughout the day I could hear machine gun fire, and periodically loud speakers were shouting out something from up there. So probably not a good idea to ignore the sign.
If you look closely at that photo you can see a camouflage checkpoint.
Also, military jets fly overhead constantly, which is pretty cool.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - As high as I could go.

As high as I could go.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - Panorama number 2 for today, they will be available in hi res from the link on the menu at the left.

Panorama number 2 for today, they will be available in hi res from the link on the menu at the left.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - Back the other way.

Back the other way.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - Here I am, look how happy I am!

Here I am, look how happy I am!


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - My journey down had no backtracking at all. First I went through the giant rock garden.

My journey down had no backtracking at all. First I went through the giant rock garden.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - Then I went over yet another sea of boulders.

Then I went over yet another sea of boulders.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - Then I took another panorama....

Then I took another panorama....


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - So clear today. I was complaining about the rain, but its the reason for my excellent photos.

So clear today. I was complaining about the rain, but its the reason for my excellent photos.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - So clear, a record 4th panorama!

So clear, a record 4th panorama!


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - Looking back the way I had come down, from here on I would be back in the trees.

Looking back the way I had come down, from here on I would be back in the trees.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - Eventually I got to the bottom, or near enough, to a temple under construction. Total walk time was about 5 hours. Internet said 6 would be required f

Eventually I got to the bottom, or near enough, to a temple under construction. Total walk time was about 5 hours. Internet said 6 would be required for my chosen route for experienced hikers.
I must be fast.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - There was a much larger temple, but it was blocked off. This sign suggests to me the monks must be having a sleep in.

There was a much larger temple, but it was blocked off. This sign suggests to me the monks must be having a sleep in.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - The boot cleaning station. I enjoyed cleaning my awesome boots which did their job with aplomb again today. I like to use words like aplomb.

The boot cleaning station. I enjoyed cleaning my awesome boots which did their job with aplomb again today.
I like to use words like aplomb.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - Then to my surprise, you come to a mini hiking city. With brand name hiking shops, LOTS of them.

Then to my surprise, you come to a mini hiking city. With brand name hiking shops, LOTS of them.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - It was quite surreal, all new and shiny, so blue today.

It was quite surreal, all new and shiny, so blue today.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - Yes, that is a coffee shop. One of 3 or 4 similarly sized ones. This place is very popular in summer, the car park was huge, and the town a bit furthe

Yes, that is a coffee shop. One of 3 or 4 similarly sized ones.
This place is very popular in summer, the car park was huge, and the town a bit further down had really expensive looking homes.
Probably the nicest area I have ever seen in Korea, perhaps they are all time shares for rich people.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - You dont have to wait long for a bus. These are all regular public buses to take you back to town for about $1.

You dont have to wait long for a bus. These are all regular public buses to take you back to town for about $1.


Korea-Gwangju-Hiking-Mudeungsan - Once I got back to town, with the clouds now gone and such a clear day, I realised the mountain I had been up really does tower over Gwangju, when you

Once I got back to town, with the clouds now gone and such a clear day, I realised the mountain I had been up really does tower over Gwangju, when you can see it.
I think todays hike was the best one so far! It wont be the last, but I suspect it may be the best.
Strangely, I think yesterdays rain was the main reason. And I was complaining about the rain yesterday.


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