Thursday, February 24, 2011
I took this hike a few years ago in early March. It was a chilly morning when I left my apartment, but nothing compared to the piercing winds waiting at the top!
I hadn't seen snow in the streets for a while, but was surprised to find the peak slippery with ice and snow. I remember grabbing onto the rail with both hands, trying to pull myself up the last bit of steep, icy rock before the summit and suddenly feeling the hand of the hiker behind me push me up by my butt! I was thankful anyway, because if I'd slipped, the other side of the rail was a vertical drop all the way to the bottom...
The winds were blowing really hard, and feeling a bit shaky I parked myself on the ground as far a way from the rail in any direction that i could. The cold winds cause my eyes to water, and the other hikers must of thought I was a bit of a wimp, because they got a good laugh at my expense! I just smiled, still grateful for the shove to the top.
Bukhansan stretches out from the northern edge of Seoul into the the surrounding province, towards North Korea. It's so nearby, I usually don't even think to go, because I always figure it's right there for next time. It's actually a very beautiful mountain, though, with several trails, and absolutely covered with temples and hermitages. The view from the top was more than dramatic enough to make the long trek worthwhile and on the way down I even spotted a woodpecker!