Monday, January 09, 2012

Visiting an old friend

On January eighth, I returned to Seoraksan and hiked to the peak, Daecheongbong.  I had a great time getting reacquainted but I have to admit that I was nervous the day before.

It's been a few years since I last climbed it and my fitness has declined.  The night before, I slept at a friend's apartment -he took excellent care of me gave me a Pine Ocean hoodie as a gift -and my anxiety woke me frequently through the night.

I didn't get lost exactly, but I did take a wrong turn briefly in Yangyang; The road to Osaek has improved greatly since my time there.

I started my hike around 8:00

Almost immediately, I wondered if I had enough clothes.  I soon discovered I did.  Fifteen minutes into my hike, I had my hat packed away, my coat strapped to my backpack and my shirt entirely unbuttoned.

There were many birds to be seen during the hike.  My camera isn't great and birds are typically small, but these ones allowed me to get quite close.

I normally don't pay much attention to the trees but you have to admire their tenacity in growing at over a kilometre in altitude.

I love how spiralled the trunk is on this old cedar(?)

I've never see the sky this clear at the peak.  This was around 11:00 and I feared there would be too much haze.
 You can see I am wearing a lot more clothing now!
 Here is an awkward bit of stitching.
The climb was great.  I carried 'ijen' or half-crampons but chose not to use them.  I did use them in the descent and they gave me great traction.  In light of my poor fitness level, I allowed for four hours to reach the peak.  In my prime, I typically made it in two and a half. This time, under three, so I am happily surprised.  The confounding variable may be my advanced age; I just took it slow and steady and enjoyed the view wherever I could.  Never fast, but without any long breaks either.

So, the climb was great.  The first half of the descent was pretty good, too.  Then, the pounding on my knees took it's toll.  Although I rested more frequently on the way down, I was hobbling painfully by the time I reached the ranger station.

I saw some rangers on the trails and am unsure what to think.  They were dressed in beige and had good boots and gloves and walking sticks and a garbage bag.  I found them at about the halfway point and they were dressed appropriately to collect the garbage and orange peels that jerks leave as they hike but insufficiently to reach the summit and without any rescue or first aid materials - unless their pockets were packed.

I stumbled to my car and dropped off most of my belongings, then stumbled further down to Osaek hot springs!
My knees are sore now, but I think the soak I took will speed my recovery.  Whatever, it sure felt great at the time.

I am at an ESL camp near Wonju and using my nine-year-old computer.  It is working great for it's age but I am limited.  I have a video I made at the peak and will consider posting it when I get home.

1 comment:

Jellie said...

Good friends no matter how old should never be forgotten nor ignored.