I've been meaning to post this for a while, but it's been gathering dust for a few weeks. I apologise for the low quality photos. I took them all on my iPhone because I had lost my battery charge in Jeju-Do a few weeks before.
Why is it that wherever you live in the world you always end up avoiding the "must do" things in your locality? When I was living in London I only only ever got round to doing the classic touristy things when friends came to visit.
Nothing has changed, even here in Korea.
I've been living in Gwangju for 8 months and only recently did I finally manage to climb Mudeungsan to the top. The mountain is a beast and looms over the city; it's bigger than Scafell Pike in England and Snowdon in Wales. I gaze at it from my office window every day so it's a bit of a joke that I hadn't climbed it sooner. I kept telling myself that I would do it soon, but you can always find an excuse not to.
It took a visit from some friends in Seoul for me to finally get my arse in gear and make the effort to climb it properly.
I met my friend Michael and a whole host of other people from Seoul downtown near the YMCA building. From here we took the 1187 bus up to Wonhyosa temple (interestingly Mudeungsan is 1187 metres tall - funny that!). We would start our hike here, head up the mountain to Donghwasa, Jungbong, up to Seoseokdae Rocks, back down to Jungbong then finish off at Jeungsimsa temple on the other side.
The weather that day was pretty erratic. One minute it was blazing sunshine, the next it was dark and grey.
The path up from Wonhyosa is lined with maple trees which look magnificent in autumn. The leaves turn bright red. From here you need to get off the path, otherwise you will just end up taking a boring pathway up the mountain. If you get up on the ridge the hike is shorter and it's a much nicer experience all round.
We went on a little detour to find a spring to get more water.
Jungbong 중봉 (ascent)
From Jungbong I left the others as I really wanted to hike up to Seoseokdae to check out the rock pillar formations which you can see on the label of the local Mudeung makkoli. This would mean heading up into the clouds over there.
Seoseokdae Rocks 서석대
Jungbong 중봉 (descent)
Jeungsimsa Temple 증심사