Monday, January 16, 2012

Chiaksan -Bori Peak

I quite enjoyed my trip to Chiaksan.  The park seems more public friendly, with more signs and difficulty ratings for various parts of the hike are all described.  It was another day of great weather and I started cold but was soon carrying my coat.  At the peak, the wind was gentle enough that I rested there a bit before descending.

On the way to the parking lot, I found this sign.  I've seen signs for tanks elsewhere in Gangwondo but not in Sokcho-Yangyang and I was happy to finally photograph one.

I had likewise seen this type of caccoon elsewhere but hadn't taken a picture of it.  A coworker suggested that it was chemically tricking the tree into retaining the leaf, perhaps as a temperature control measure.  I have no idea what's inside it.

Handsome guy with no coat:

Please click to embiggen this picture.  I am quite proud of how the ice crystals turned out.
Near the peak, perhaps around 1000 metres, the snow crystals on the ground changed shape.  I am no Inuit, but I do recognize different types of snow.

At the peak:  Chiaksan is enough lower than Seoraksan, that despite the very steep climb and descent, my knees were not totally worn down.
After my hike, I drove around a little looking for a grocery store.  I didn't find one - I didn't look too hard- but I did find a reservoir where many people were having fun.  Some people were fishing for Bongeo - similar in shape and size to a smelt in Ontario- and kids were sitting on sleds and pushing them with spiked sticks - traditional sledding.

I have more photos and some video, but I will post those after returning home and using something other than this poor nine-year-old notebook.  It has served me well this camp, but it doesn't have many features (Thanks go out to Firefox, which has breathed new life into it.  Google Chrome won't run on it).

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.

Monday, January 02, 2012

A Winter Tradition

We had a great swim.  The final still shows west-bound traffic on highway 50.  A whole lot of  people came to see us swim.  One hour to get to the beach, five hours to get back to camp!