Godaesan, Cheorwon

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June 19th 2016
Published: September 25th 2016
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We drove to Cheorwon, which is really far north. I always think Seoul is really close to the DMZ, but the drive took about an hour and a half. It is further away than it seems. On the drive the city soon gave way to the countryside. It is strange to think that we were so close to North Korea as the area is so peaceful. There were lots of rice fields, Cheorwon is famous for producing high quality rice, and we saw quite a few cranes in the fields. We arrived at the carpark ready to start our hike. The bathroom had hot water in the taps, a rarity in Korea.

We walked up a steep hill, along a paved road, through a posh looking camping site to reach the start of the trail. There are three trails leading up Godaesan. We would take trail one up to the first peak, cross the second peak to reach the third and highest peak, and then take the third trail down. It would be about three kilometres to reach the peak. Godaesan is the closest mountain to North Korea. We walked off to the left along a flat path for a couple of hundred metres until we got to the start of trail one. The hike was fairly steep and it was very hot and humid. Initially I was cold when we got off the bus, but after hiking for a couple of minutes I was soon dripping with sweat. The trail was pretty uneven and covered with rocks. I had to watch where I was putting my feet. We took a couple of short breaks to catch our breathe but kept on going until we reached a rest area, where lots of people were taking a break. The next part was really steep. We started to see concrete bunkers that the military use. I have always wanted to go inside of one, but since I usually hike alone I am too chicken to enter them. The thought of all the creepy crawlies inside puts me off. But since this will be my last chance and I was hiking with a friend, I made them come inside with me. To be honest it wasn't very exciting, it was pretty small and pitch black inside. Some of the others said that there were bats in a previous bunker we had passed, but this one was bat free. Also there was no view, all I could see was trees.

We soon reached the first peak, Daegwangbong, which is 810 metres above sea level. There was a pavilion there, which was filled with people having an early lunchtime picnic. We looked across the mountains to what we think was North Korea. The sky was hazy so we couldn't see much. Since there wasn't much there, we continued on to the second peak. It wasn't too far to the second peak, only a couple of hundred metres if that. Samgakbong, the second peak is only five metres higher than the first at 815 metres. This peak was more interesting than the first. There was a lot of military stuff there. The underground bunker must be pretty big as there were pipes above the ground. I presume that they are used for ventilation. There were also some camouflage nets so we had fun playing in them. I think the military may use this area for training exercises. There was also a lot of barbed wire making the other side of the peak out of bounds.

The third peak looked miles away. I feeling a little tired and pretty hungry, so I was dreading how long it would take to get there. The trail was pretty easy, it wound its way down and then up. It started to rain lightly when we were at the second peak and it got a bit heavier as we proceeded. I had known that it was going to rain, but had been too lazy to pack my poncho. I hoped that it would ease off. I was surprised at how quickly we reached the third peak, I know that it was only 500 metres from the first peak, but sometimes it can be a very long five hundred metres. We reached the Godaebong peak, which is 832 metres high. There is a big platform at the peak to sit and picnic on. Some of the boards were in a state of disrepair, but it was still safe to sit on. We sat in the rain munching on our picnic. I think it had taken about two to two and a half hours to reach the top.

As we were setting off to leave, the sun started to come out. The sky cleared and was a lovely bright shade of blue. The hike down was about 3.3 kilometres and it was pretty nice. For the most part we were shaded by the trees, which meant my skin wouldn't fry as the sun was now out properly. Parts of the trail were quite steep and I had to be a little careful at times. There was a diversion off to a waterfall but as the rainy season hasn't started yet, we skipped going to see it as we thought it would look a little lacklustre. We reached the end of the trail and came out at a caravan resort. It looked really nice, but I think the location would be a little boring, I would prefer to be at the beach. There was a block of holiday apartments, which had a convenience store in them ,so we grabbed a cold drink to enjoy in the sun. The hike had taken about 4 hours, maybe four and a half.

We drove to Goseokjeong, where some people went rafting. We were too tired for that thought and just took a walk down to the river. This place is really pretty and worth taking all the steps down to the bottom. We stopped

halfway to get some pictures of the river and we saw the others go by on their rafts. At the bottom there s a nice sandy area, where you can sit and relax. There were a few people there enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. The water of the Hantan River did look inviting, but the water on the other side of the sandbar looked very stagnant. We climbed back up the steps and went to the coffee shop that is located there. Finally, a proper coffee to end our trip.

Additional photos below
Photos: 29, Displayed: 26


Daegwangbong Daegwangbong

The first peak

The second peak

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