Published: May 29th 2010October 29th 2009
Feel free to place another stone on top of these piles. If they remain, your wish is granted; otherwise, your wish will not come true. This particular stack was impressive.
I noticed that there were not many photos of autumn in Seorak Mountain (aka Seoraksan National Park), so I'm posting some from a trip last year. A lot of native teachers headed to the mountain in September and early October. By chance, we ended up going the last weekend of October and it was completely different from what other people experienced! I had already seen many of the vibrant red maple trees on the way to the mountain, but when we entered the park, the first words out of my mouth were, "Oh my god. So this is what autumn's supposed to look like." *insert jaw drop*
I recommend heading out early (before 11am, at least) because the park gets more and more crowded. Still, despite the amount of people, the terrain is spacious. Entrance fee ranges from 600W-3200W (49 cents - $2.49) based on age. We bought a ticket for the cable car ride at the bottom of the cable car around 10-10:30am (the lines form fast, and the wait can get very long and annoying). After hiking around the mountain to see the historical temples, bright wooden statues, and various stalls, we ran back to catch the
It was all by itself in the forest.
The ride up was a bit scary for me because I was squished against the window and looking out into a fog. It felt like vertigo. I was prepared for disappointment because of the density of the fog, but it turned out to be a blast. A lot of people lost interest and headed back down as light rain began to drizzle. We had luckily bought some cheap plastic ponchos at our hotel (I think they also sold them on the mountain, but I don't remember as it was a while ago). We heard the chanting of a monk along with the ringing of a temple bell, so we followed the trail to the left to find the source.
We walked down quite a ways while goofing around in the fog all by ourselves, then began second-guessing, and finally turned around. However, I couldn't justify doing such a half-ass trek, so I decided to try again. This time, despite the fog that limited our vision and the sound of the monk's voice seeming to move further away the more steps we took, we moved onward.
Finally, we found a mini-temple. As we
Korea is famous for these in the autumn time. Look at the range of colors.
peeked inside, a monk appeared out of nowhere and gave us a sweet smile and low bow. We realized that we had actually been listening to a recording. It sounds cheesy, but the effect in the fog was quite magical and numinous. The temple didn't compare to the ones that were at lower elevation, but the trek was fun regardless. On a clear day, the view would have been spectacular.
There are quite a few different hikes when coming to Seoraksan and they are on completely different sides. So, you might want to figure out which side to go. Our side was very easy walking. I believe the other side of the mountain has a couple more strenuous hikes. I would definitely return to explore the mountain again.
There are more photos below