Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gangcheonsan - A Teacher Wellness Hike

This post could equally have been titled "The Day Upon Which Ally Discovered why Koreans do not believe in Outdoor Pools".

Last Monday marked the official end to the school term and the start of summer vacation. (Well, maybe not 'vacation' per say... Korean students don't really seem to get those, most of the students and teachers are still at school attending or teaching specialized classes. Thus, I've spent the mornings since at school running an Olympic-themed English summer camp for some of my students  (and being pelted with goo-balls, water balloons and any number of other things as part of the daily activities :D). It's been ridiculously fun and I've loved having the chance to wear shorts to work given the end of monsoon season and the extremely hot weather we've been having lately!). 

In celebration of the official end of term, all of the teachers were whisked off 1.5hrs northeast to the valley of Gangcheonsan (강천산) where we were fed an absolutely delicious lunch on the banks of the river. 

The river view.

A supremely yummy 'Chicken in Lacquer Stew'.
Our restaurant.
After eating our fill and honouring the teachers who will not be returning next term, it was time to head off on a hike. Possibly one of my favourite things about my school is the fact that my principal loves hiking.
Gangcheonsan itself offers a number of easy strolls along the valley bottom accompanied by stunningly picturesque waterfalls and a wonderfully lazy river perfect for swimming in - check out the pictures below.

While all of these things were wonderful, they were not my favourite part of the park. That honour goes to the fabulous suspension bridge seen below. Though there wasn't technically enough time to hike up to it, cross, and make it back to the bus for the designated meet up time. I had by that point, found my self hiking with the principal, vice principal and a number of the senior teachers - all of whom wished to climb and cross it as much as I did. And, hey, you can't be late if you're with the head of the school ;).

From the top, we spotted a lovely turquoise pool about half way up one side of the mountain and, of course, what else was there to do after a sweaty hike but check it out ;).

Meanwhile, back at the river, the fish are being fed a feast!
True Korean Wildlife!!!

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