Wednesday, August 8, 2012

There's snow snow anymore



Seoraksan was one of my favourite places in South Korea last time, but I didn't get to see much of it due to the winter weather making things unreachable without decent boots and ice picks. So it was inevitable that I'd come back in the summer to spend more than a couple of hours here and see Korea's first national park at its third-best.

Everyone seems to agree this place looks most spectacular in the autumn, so I guess I'll have to come back again. And then I'll feel compelled to come back in the spring to see the pink cherry blossoms and complete the set. Normally, those sort of self-imposed obligations would be a cause for annoyance, but I'm already looking forward to it. Any excuse to justify coming back to Koreagainagain.

And if I accomplish nothing else in my life, charting The Four Se(or)a(k)s(a)[+o]ns would be legacy enough.


Seoraksan National Park
(설악산국립공원)



He looked miserable in the cold and now he has to contend with the rain. Cheer up, Buddhy!



I took the cable car up to Gwongeumseong last time, which is just as well as I wouldn't have been able to see anything today through these clouds



I'm not going to complain about the drizzle though, as it would have been a lot less comfortable walking around in the sweltering summer heat.

(Plus, the murky conditions made it easier to pretend I was in Knightmare)


Ulsanbawi
(울산바위)




There's no point coming back if I'm just going to do the same things as last time (not that I managed to do much), so I took the right hand path to another perilous mountain peak I'd be unable to climb once I reached it. I'm fine with that - I'd rather not lug heavy mountain climbing equipment around the world just so I can get a slightly higher cloudy view from summits a couple of times a year.



That'll teach it to block my view



Roping off dangerous areas is fine, but this Crystal Maze style arrangement makes me want to take on the challenge



Kyejoam Seokgul hermitage. I hope someone lives here



I may or may not have given this squirrel some biscuit, depending on whether that's bad for them or I could go to prison or something. Either way, it became a loyal companion, popping out of the crevices to say hi every hour or so. It must have travelled miles!

A sceptic would say they were just different squirrels, but you know what I think of sceptics



This was as far as I could get without artificial aid or upper body strength



It still counts!




Biseondae
(비선대)




I took this route in January, but had to stop abruptly when the patronising walkways ran out and were replaced by frost-covered stone steps that would have killed me.



I got quite a bit further this time



But winter looked a lot prettier, didn't it? You really don't need to point out that these comparison photos would have been more effective if I'd moved slightly to the left to get precisely the same angle when recreating a photo six months later from memory, I AM AWARE






Gorge of Eternal Peril



Here are some cloudy 'views.' If it still counts as views when you can't really see anything



Another rock conquered. I was on fire today! Luckily there was rain to put me out



After so much almost-mountain-climbing and stomping uphill, I needed something more filling than bibimbap this time



My daemon was content with her bic


Today's relevant soundtrack: Philip Pullman, Northern Lights (Chivers)

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