The weekend before last, a bunch of my buddies and I went hiking up nearby Suraksan--it's only ten minutes or so away from Uijeongbu via subway.
I was deluded into thinking that this was going to be an easy hike by the Korean Circus of Capitalism that typically leads right up the mountain's base--completely typical of Korean hiking (discussed more in-depth here). We were gifted free beer from some promotional people at the start of our hike, which set a "this is going to be so easy" kind of tone:
Emma and Jenny get their pre-hiking buzz going
Further along, there was random man playing the saxophone in the middle of the woods, further adding to the "this is a cakewalk" 'tude:
Perhaps we would have been more prepared for what was coming if there had been a DEATH METAL band playing
The trail rambled along easily enough, and I found myself thinking, "I am so pro at this/I miss hiking in Colorado/these Koreans have no clue what REAL hiking is." We reached what I assumed to be the top after about forty minutes, only to encounter these cables, which we had to use to shimmy up a considerable distance of sheer, granite cliff faces.
Brendan looks pretty badass here
It was really difficult. The cables seemed to go on FOREVER and scurrying up them resulted in major blisters/much emotional trauma for the heights-fearing amongst us. THOSE DAMNED CABLES.
Though I still don't understand/relate to the average Korean's concept of "nature"/what are natural v. unnatural environments (read: getting off of the subway to "escape" to what is still an incredibly built up, manscaped landscape), Korean hiking is still difficult...I shall be deluded about that no longer. Thanks, Suraksan, for keeping my ego in check.
Patrick Teacher thinks "I wish I were still drinking beer back at the beginning"
Can you see the tiny, tiny people? I spy buttloads of Korean climbers
We finally reached the top after a half dozen false summits, where there were men with coolers full of ice cream, selling it at a marked up price, of course. I took this awesome picture of Charles/Brendan at the summit:
On the way back down, there were lots of pretty flowers blooming, and I took lots of pseudo-artsy pictures:
Summation: fun/intense springtime romp with new/old co-workers/friends.