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February 20th 2016
Published: March 14th 2016
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At the start of the trail
Minjujisan is a mountain I had never heard of before, so I was excited to head there for some hiking. It is a slightly less popular and not so well known mountain, close to Deokyusan National Park and Muju ski resort. This down from Seoul was quite long. Well over three hours if I remember correctly, we had come really far south, a lot further than I thought we would. The bus dropped us in the car park and there were a couple of other buses there, not too many hikers about. perfect. We headed away from the carpark to the start of the trail. There were a few stalls along the route selling local stuff, like homemade makgeolli and produce. There was a small temple next to the start of the trail, but we didn't have time to look around it.

We crossed a small, green bridge and were now in the woods. The trail started off pretty easy, but it soon got tougher. Parts were very icy, snowy and or muddy. I had to put my crampons on. However I must have had them on the wrong way wrong as they kept coming loose. I spent ages re-strapping them and walking a few paces, before they would work themselves loose again. Finally, as I was lagging behind, I took them off and put them on the right way round. My hands were black from all the mud, I tried to clean them on bits of snow and ice. This made my hands were dry. They would need slathering in lotion later. I continued upwards and upwards. Parts of the trail were nice, but other parts were tough. I was holding on to branches to stop me from ending up on my arse. I was walking through the woods, so there wasn't much of view, only trees. I think it took about an hour and a half, maybe two hours to reach the peak.

There was a shelter just before the peak, so we headed in there to warm up a little and eat lunch. The hut was packed and there was very little room. After scoffing some food I was ready to get moving again. The hut was too claustrophobic, so I headed outside, even though it was cold it was less crowded. Some people were enjoying a cup of makgeolli. We were just under the peak, and I walked up the stairs, about 100 metres, to reach the peak. Minjujisan is 1,439 metres high. It had been a bit tough getting there, but I made it! The views from the top were great, I could see all of the surrounding snow covered peaks. It was very windy, so we didn't hang about for too long.

From the peak of Minjujisan, we set off towards the second peak, Seokgibong, the others were going really fast. I don't know how people came walk/run so quickly. I soon lost most of them. I went pretty fast for me and didn't really enjoy this part of the trail, as I was trying my hardest not to lag behind. I think this part of the trail was about three kilometres. I was literally just putting one foot in front of the other to reach the second peak, I didn't have any time to stop and take in the scenery. I hate this type of hiking as I can't take in and appreciate the beauty of the area. There was lots of walking up and down along what I presume to be the ridgeline. Some parts were quite steep and the trail was technical in parts. There were lots of rock and ropes. I was struggling to get up some of them as I had my evil hiking poles, which I had to hold, so couldn't hold the ropes with both hands. Also it was freezing, I had to take my thick ski gloves off, as I couldn't get a good grip on the rope wearing them. I wish that I still had my cheap thin gloves, but I binned them after they got a big hole in them and decided not to bother getting another pair as winter is almost over. The last bit to Seokgibong peak was tough. I was so glad that I could see the others there as I knew I could have a little rest. The views were stunning. It made the tough parts worth it. I could see for miles and miles. I could lots of other mountains all around us. One of the guys pointed out Deokyusan, that we had hiked a few weeks earlier. One of the guys had a drone and he got it out, but it was too windy.

We came down from the second peak, and we could either continue on to the third peak, Samdobong, which was one kilometre away or head down to the parking lot, which was four kilometres away. Since we were short on time, we were meant to be back at the bus for 4 pm, we headed down to the car park. This part of the trail was still covered in snow. The sun light must not penetrate the trees, as the snow was pretty thick. I was glad (once again) that I had my crampons on. The first part was quite steep ad slippery. The steps were covered with snow. I was very slow heading down. It was beautiful to walk through though. I wish I had taken some pictures, but I was feeling too lazy to get my camera out of my bag. A bit further down the snow changed to ice and that was really slippery, however I managed to stay standing up. The snow and ice had disappeared by the bottom of the mountain and we were back to walking on normal ground. Although one of my crampons was stuck on my foot, I had to wait until I was sitting down on the bus to get it off. We were only about twenty minutes late getting back to the bus, not bad at all.

Back on the bus we drove for about an hour to reach the restaurant, where we would have dinner. We had driven around the town for a while, only to leave and head back the way we had come. When we pulled up in front of the place, I recognised it, as we had passed it earlier. Well, that was half an hour wasted driving about. The restaurant was also a winery. There was a place, where you could have a foot spa with grapes in the water for 5,000 won. I was far too lazy to go for that as I couldn't be arsed in the slightest to take my hiking boots off, to have to put them back on again.

Most of us headed for the restaurant instead. It was freezing, they turned the heat on after we had been in there for a while, but it took a while for the chill to disappear and even then it still wasn't very warm. We divided ourselves into groups depending on what we wanted to eat. This was supposed to make it easier for the wait staff... Yeah, that work out well. We waited ages and ages for our food. Luckily, we had some kimchi and pickles to tide us over, but it wasn't enough. The people, who had done the foot spa even got their food before us. Finally, they started bringing some pasta out to our table, we hadn't ordered pasta. They had made us the wrong food, great! Luckily, we got to share a couple of bowls of the pasta, while we waited for them to cook our pork cutlets. My pork cutlet was fine, when it eventually came, but definitely not worth the 15,000 won we paid for it. I know that we got some free wine, but that wasn't very nice. It was red wine, but very sweet. It tasted more like grape juice. I was glad to get back on the bus and head home.

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