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Newer Page 78 of 911 Older Full Trip Report
Korea Hiking Suraksan

1 April 2019

The first of many identical mountains

Hiking Suraksan via Danggogae subway station

YESSSSS!!! Today I get to upload about 1000 almost identical over sharpened over saturated photographs of brown mountains with grey rocks. The goal as ever, is to make the photos as offensive as possible, then add INANE comments about each one. I use all caps every time I type a word that makes me think I am clever.

Todays mountain was called Suraksan. As with many Korean mountains it is quite popular, despite not being in one of the hundreds of national parks. Despite it being Monday (thats 2 uses of 'despite' in subsequent sentences, bad writing!), hundreds of retired folks were out creating new paths to ensure that I would get lost multiple times, and I did. Generally speaking, Korean mountains each have about 57 paths to follow, no signs, dangerous drops, questionable ropes and chains to cling onto, and the occasional black ice patch. Today was no exception. Also because Korean mountains are quite short / low, there is rarely just one prominent peak, and what they refer to as a mountain might be a series of peaks. Every time you get to the top you will realise theres another mountain behind it of roughly the same height, and wonder if you are truly at your destination. This meant that all my careful research on the path to follow was useless, I ended up on completely the wrong side of the mountain and had to walk about 6.5km along a road back to a station, luckily there was a footpath.
The road back went right through the middle of a large military base, most of these look like scout camps but I climbed up on the razor wire and saw about a hundred tanks lined up. Then I noticed a sign in English warning that taking photos will get you shot. I couldn't quite hang onto the fence and take a photo at once, so I am safe from getting shot by a teenage Korean army conscript today.

After returning to the city, it was time for a late coffee, there was only one other customer, a 'Korean' woman. She went and asked the barista / robot coffee maker button pressing human how to get to Myeongdong, in English with an American accent. The barista answered in furious sounding Korean. The woman explained she cant understand Korean. Next thing the clerk was yelling at her in broken English, paraphrasing here... 'YOU KOREAN, YOU SPEAK KOREAN, NOT ENGLISH, IF YOU NOT KNOW SPEAK KOREAN, YOU LEARN KOREAN, ALL KOREANS MUST SPEAK KOREAN!!!'. The American woman looked shocked by this. I told her how to get to where she was going, and never got a thanks from her. I should have yelled at her too. Maybe the rude clerk was right!

Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - This is near my hotel. People do not seem to get to work early, still quiet at 8AM, subway was still empty. I wont mention the weather because to do s

This is near my hotel. People do not seem to get to work early, still quiet at 8AM, subway was still empty. I wont mention the weather because to do so is boring, repetitive and redundant and makes me seem as old as I am.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - I stayed on the train to the last stop, Danggogae. Korean names are not easy to remember. This area is clearly for poor people, although its still in

I stayed on the train to the last stop, Danggogae. Korean names are not easy to remember. This area is clearly for poor people, although its still in Seoul on the subway. I noticed on my long walk back that they were adding sewers and drainage. Modernity comes to Danggogae!


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - Walking to the start of the trail from the station meant passing lots of houses busy collecting rubbish and storing it in their yards in case theres e

Walking to the start of the trail from the station meant passing lots of houses busy collecting rubbish and storing it in their yards in case theres ever a shortage of discarded plastic, then we profit! There was rubbish everywhere. I dont think they were collecting it because they are getting paid to recycle it, it would appear to have been here for about 1000 years. Many sets of eyes were watching me closely to make sure I didnt run off with an old plastic bucket with a hole in it. Meanwhile everyones identical looking dog attached to a rusty chain was desperately trying to break the chain to kill me.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - I think it is actually too early for cherry blossoms, if thats your thing. Instead there are these yellow and purple flowers everywhere. In this photo

I think it is actually too early for cherry blossoms, if thats your thing. Instead there are these yellow and purple flowers everywhere. In this photo I have managed to capture both, to save on having to post 2 photos. It also features a clump of dead brown leaves, which is the defining feature of Korean mountains in March.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - The start of the trail has these notice boards filled with posters for hiking groups? Transport options from the other end of the trail? Insurance? I

The start of the trail has these notice boards filled with posters for hiking groups? Transport options from the other end of the trail? Insurance? I have no idea what all this is here for. I noticed a nearly identical display at the bottom of the other side of the mountain when I got back to a road.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - There are a few temples as you set off. This is the main one. I found it very annoying because the Buddha is offset on the stairs, and the whole build

There are a few temples as you set off. This is the main one. I found it very annoying because the Buddha is offset on the stairs, and the whole building is on a lean and offset from the path. The Soju must have been bad.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - Oh look, its another mountain as seen from this mountain. I fear the sky is too blue, I tried to make it less blue.

Oh look, its another mountain as seen from this mountain. I fear the sky is too blue, I tried to make it less blue.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - Today featured every kind of mountain trail. I enjoyed the variety. Here is a scramble up some steep rocks section, one of my favorites.

Today featured every kind of mountain trail. I enjoyed the variety. Here is a scramble up some steep rocks section, one of my favorites.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - I think I went all the way around to that peak. It was not really very far but lots of it was quite technical with ropes and chains. I never felt the

I think I went all the way around to that peak. It was not really very far but lots of it was quite technical with ropes and chains. I never felt the need to put my gloves on though.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - Here is an easier section of the trail. I dont really understand why some parts had barriers like this despite not being dangerous, then other parts h

Here is an easier section of the trail. I dont really understand why some parts had barriers like this despite not being dangerous, then other parts had a frayed rope attached to a questionable branch as you stare over the edge of a 300 foot drop.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - There is Seoul. A bit of it anyway. Over 20 million people live in the greater metro area.

There is Seoul. A bit of it anyway. Over 20 million people live in the greater metro area.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - A bit more Seoul. I have climbed all those mountains on the horizon on previous trips, they are all in the Bukhansan national park, which has a lot of

A bit more Seoul. I have climbed all those mountains on the horizon on previous trips, they are all in the Bukhansan national park, which has a lot of really challenging dangerous trails.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - Clearly I was enjoying taking photos of rocks contrasting against pine trees with the city in the background PUNCTUATED by an overly blue sky.

Clearly I was enjoying taking photos of rocks contrasting against pine trees with the city in the background PUNCTUATED by an overly blue sky.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - Mountains in every direction, tomorrow perhaps?

Mountains in every direction, tomorrow perhaps?


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - I think this is elephant rock. Taipei also has an elephant rock and possibly Hong Kong? Wait thats lion rock. OK so now I have been to Elephant rock i

I think this is elephant rock. Taipei also has an elephant rock and possibly Hong Kong? Wait thats lion rock. OK so now I have been to Elephant rock in Seoul and Taipei and Lion rock in Hong Kong. How many animal rocks have you been to?


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - Nice texture in those rocks, great for removing skin when you fall over. Actually the rocks are not the problem, the fine gravel is. I guess the fine

Nice texture in those rocks, great for removing skin when you fall over. Actually the rocks are not the problem, the fine gravel is. I guess the fine gravel used to be rocks, its razor sharp, slippery, and unpleasant feeling on your ass when you slide down a hill.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - Perhaps this is photo of the day?

Perhaps this is photo of the day?


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - The lines on my face look particularly deep today. I am starting to look like 90 year old Clint Eastwood. Here you can see my running backpack. I have

The lines on my face look particularly deep today. I am starting to look like 90 year old Clint Eastwood. Here you can see my running backpack. I have a new setup for this trip, first I put on my over the shoulder tiny camera pouch for my giant camera. Then I put my running backpack on over that, and put the waist strap through the belt loop on the camera bag thing. This way I look like I need a helmet and an emotional support dog / pig / peacock, but it stops anything from moving about, keeps both hands free and I can run. FUNCTION OVER FORM.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - Now its time to get lost and follow a random trail down the wrong side of the mountain! Down to a location with no train!

Now its time to get lost and follow a random trail down the wrong side of the mountain! Down to a location with no train!


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - This side has some rocks and green and blue of its own. Just like the other side!

This side has some rocks and green and blue of its own. Just like the other side!


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - After successfully negotiating this perilous precipice, I took a photo back from where I had come.

After successfully negotiating this perilous precipice, I took a photo back from where I had come.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - I kind of hoped the trail I had selected would loop back around to where I started, at about this point I realised that would not be the case. The onl

I kind of hoped the trail I had selected would loop back around to where I started, at about this point I realised that would not be the case. The only question now, how far would I need to walk along a road to get back to a station? About 6.5km as it turns out.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - Once I reached a road, this was the first thing I saw. It was making a terrible buzzing and humming sound and every now and then a puff of smoke would

Once I reached a road, this was the first thing I saw. It was making a terrible buzzing and humming sound and every now and then a puff of smoke would come out of it.


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - Solar powered creepy plastic light up child. Why though?

Solar powered creepy plastic light up child. Why though?


Korea-Hiking-Suraksan - The road back to the station through the military base followed this huge open drain / sewer project for miles. To greet the construction workers the

The road back to the station through the military base followed this huge open drain / sewer project for miles. To greet the construction workers the locals have lined the site with many miles of piled up rubbish, ready to push it in as soon as it rains.


NewerPage 78 of 911OlderFull Trip Report