Sunday, December 9, 2012

Walking in a Winter Wonderland - Mudeungsan in the Snow

Okay, so I may have lied when I said hiking season was coming to a close. Clearly I hadn't adequately considered the potential in combining two of my vary favourite things (No, not food. Though with me, that's always involved.) - hiking and snow!

Setting off from Jeungshim Temple (증심사).
This past weekend, a few friends and I decided to take advantage of the fresh snowfall to check out the views of and from Gwangju's Mt Mudeung (무등산) in the snow. Rather than taking the 1187 bus halfway up and doing the ridgewalk to the top, we decided to start right from the bottom at Jeungshim Temple so that we could stay warmer under the tree cover. We wound up hiking to the top via Jungbong (중봉- Jung Peak) and looping back around on our way down so that we could hit the famous Ipseokdae (입석대) rock formation on our way back to our starting point. Overall, the hike covered about 8 or 9km took us about 5 hours with all the snow.

A view of the city from partway between Jungmorijae and Jungbong. About 800m up.
It seemed like much of the older population of Gwangju was also on the mountain to play in the snow for the day - small wonder as brisk winds kept the clouds moving fast so that we often had clear blue skies.

Playing around in the snow en route.
As per usual, any time the locals glanced down at our feet and realised that we weren't wearing 'proper Korean hiking gear' (in this case cramp-ons and brightly coloured knee-high waterproof leg warmers - no joke!) there was a lot of clucking and shaking of heads in dismay (in my case, this may have been justified, my hiking shoes officially died yesterday, so I was hiking in dress boots - they were nice and cozy and warm though!).

Looking up toward the Seoseokdae (서석대) rock formation near the top. Standing on top of this at 1105m is the highest you can get on Mudeung as the peak (at 1187) is occupied by the military and cordoned off to the public.

Fortunately for us, the snow was still fresh enough that our lack of cramp-ons was in no way a factor (though it did make 'ski-ding' down the mountain at the end much more fun) and many of those we encountered were just happy to see foreigners so enjoying their mountain.

A view of the Ipseokdae (입석대) formation. They are huge! To give you some idea, if I were standing at the base of that pillar, my head still wouldn't make it into the picture!

Such a great day! There's nothing quite like going out to play in it to remind you just how awesome snow is!

Descending into a snow-covered Jeungshimsa on our return.

1 comment:

Larisa said...

Gorgeous! Next time it snows, let's go!