We awoke to a rainy Saturday morning and met up with two climbers we met on an online Korean climbing forum, Sonia and Josh. Together the four of us took the bus to Seoraksan National Park, unarguably the most beautiful and pristine of Korea’s numerous national parks. We hiked about an hour up to a little mountain hut, which consists of numerous wooden platforms for sleeping and large windows showcasing spectacular sweeping views of the mountains and a stream. We were feeling lazy, but finally forced ourselves out into the rain for a late-afternoon hike. We came back to the hut, made dinner, and passed out for the night.
Sunday morning we hiked about two hours with all of our climbing gear to the great Ulsanbawi rock wall. Unfortunately, we found that there was no sport climbing to be had there. We hiked back down the mountain, through the forest, over a river, and on to a different climbing spot, this time getting lucky. As the sun was quickly setting, we each only did one climb (I actually succeeded in finishing one of the hardest and most dangerous climbs I have ever attempted…Yay!) before strapping on headlamps and hiking back the two hours to our hut. Once we got back, Erin and I had a quick dip in the cold rivers of the stream, ate dinner, and fell asleep early.
Monday morning we headed back to the previous day’s climbing spot for a full afternoon of climbing. We got to take in the beauty of the area with it’s waterfalls and gorgeous mountain rock. Unfortunately, we came to Seoraksan just a couple weeks shy of the changing colors of the leaves, but it was still a fabulous sight! That night, Erin and Josh left, as they had to work on Tuesday, and Sonia and I dragged our aching bodies back to the hut and into bed.
This morning started out sunny and clear, but as we were leaving Seoraksan, the clouds began to roll in. I refused to let this put a damper on my day’s plans to relax on Sokcho Beach, though. The beach was a gorgeous stretch of clean white sand, and Sonia and I were pleasantly surprised to find the cool ocean water to be a deep clear shade of turquoise. Miraculously, after lunch the sunlight burst through the clouds and we were blessed with a couple hours of quality tanning time…this was the first time my body has seen the light of day in a year, so it was actually more along the lines of quality “burning” time, for me.
When we had had enough of the beach, we hopped on a bus for Seoul…this one actually only took 3 1/2 hours, thank goodness. Tonight I feel completely refreshed and well-rested…and ready to tackle my final month in Korea!