I didn’t move to Korea for hiking. In fact, I don’t think IÂ even knew there were mountains. I was going for the fascinating culture, the challenge of living life in a completely new place, different language and of course for the teaching English experience.
My second week in Seoul I was made aware of Adventure KoreaÂ and that’s when my new hiking adventures began. Every other weekend I would join other English teachers from the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK on trips through the different mountain ranges and islands on the peninsula.
Hiking is a major past-time in South Korea with the older generations, and sometimes it can be really busy, with line-ups even. There are no switch-backs in these mountains, the trails go straight up, with ropes and scrambling needed in some areas. In a few cases there are even metal stairs bolted into the rock.
On some occasions we would hike up to buddhist temples and shrines – many temples were forced out of the city and into the mountains years ago, which makes for an inspiring and interesting experience of its own.
Ridge hiking in Korea is not so well known as Valere Tjolle points out in his article on TravelMole. But it is definitely worthy of praise and of becoming better known in the world. It’s the only time in my life where I have been surrounded on all sides, as I walked for hours,Â by continuous mountain views as far as I could see. I have climbed mountains in the Rockies, and no one could dispute that they are spectacular, but this is different.
Looking down to the right as the edge drops off, or over to the left where a few feet away it drops again, you feel like you are walking the border of the earth. Something truly special I feel priviledged to have witnessed.
Read the article on TravelMole’s VISION on Sustainable TourismÂ Korea Aims to Attract 7.5 Million Visitors in 2009.