Monday, October 10, 2005

Hwa am sa

On Saturday, I went on a picnic with my wife and her coworkers from the National Maritime Police Agency (Coast Guard). Completely unrelated to this post, I asked several Coast Guard officers if they could swim and the majority could not or could not swim well.

Anyway, we hiked on the edge of Seorak National Park, near Hwaamsa and it was beautiful. We drove to the main gate to the temple, walked a few hundred metres to the temple bridge, then turned away and went up the mountain and it was one great view after another. Up some steep stairs, takes you to an egg-shaped rock 30 metres tall that you could scramble on. I edged around the side and took this picture of the temple.

The high point of the climb though, is the view of Ulsan Bowi from the local peak, another 20-40 minutes up. Ulsan bowi fills one quadrant of your view and on Saturday, it loomed ominously with the cloudy sky behind it. The other direction has Sokcho and the Sea of J...I mean the East Sea before you.

On the way down, I wanted to see the temple but we had to collect Alex from the baby-sitter so actually visiting the temple will be another trip. Another challenging trip as there are no busses that get get close. The best you can do is take #3 to Dae Myougn Condo and walk about 2 km to the temple. I may make it a day's ride.

It seemed to be one of the most beautiful temples I have ever almost-visited. A stream and gurgling waterfall cross the grounds and, as I have already described, the location is wonderful.

From a goseong website, I learn the temple grounds are over 1000 years old, there is an interesting fable about the dangers of greed and that a VERY challenging marathon is held here in September ( I missed hearing about it at the time). Hwaamsa has it's own website, only in Korean.

The Herald tells me that Seorak colors will peak around October 20th. I am lucky enough to be able to visit on a weekday because the main Park areas will be hideously crowded for the next few weekends. If you have to visit on a weekend, the Hwaamsa area seems less heavily used (until my millions of readers swamp and ruin it. Would you believe dozens? A boy scout with rabies? [goodbye Don adams]).

1 comment:

GI Korea said...

Hwaamsa the temple its self I thought was only OK as far as Korean temples go, though it did have some nice surrounding scenery.

I would love to go to Sorak mountain during the fall but the thought of the crowds just doesn't make it seem worth it to me. I'm planning on going to Woraksan mountain instead this week.