Sobaeksan National Park II


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January 10th 2016
Published: February 29th 2016
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Snowy TreeSnowy TreeSnowy Tree

Sobaeksan National Park
I hiked the same trail in Sobaeksan National Park in spring last year. I really enjoyed the hike, so i jumped at the chance to do this hike again in the winter season. I thought it would be really nice to see how different the trail is in another season. Also it was rainy last time, so I hoped this time it would be better. We left early on the Sunday morning, and the drive was so quick. I was having a lovely nap and shocked when we got the national park around 10:30 am. It was quite windy when we stepped off the bus, and i'm sure it was snowing a little, although it could have been snow blowing off the trees.

The first part of the trail is pretty easy, as it is along a paved road. I was a little shocked that there wasn't more snow on this part, but then this winter has been really mild. The road was a little icy in parts so I had to be careful where I was walking. I was definitely going a lot slower than last time I hiked here. It took us a couple of hours to reach
Snowy TreeSnowy TreeSnowy Tree

Sobaeksan National Park
the send shelter (but the first one we came across). Some of the others decided to have some lunch here. But I wanted to keep going. The trail turned into more of proper trail, and it was more snowy up here. The trees looked gorgeous as they were covered in snow. The needles in the pine trees looked amazing. The sky was really cloudy, so when we reached the first peak, Yeonhwabong, we couldn't see anything.

The next part of the trail was down hill, since we didn't have crampons on, we slid down on our bums, so much fun! Plus, I don't think the crampons would have helped too much. I'm really surprised that I didn't have a wet bum after this. I was also worried about my camera, so I lost the others while I was putting it away. This part of the hike was like a proper winter wonderland. I loved it! This winter has been so mild, it hasn't really felt like winter, so it was nice to be surrounded by all the snow. I walked through the woods for a couple of kilometres maybe. There weren't any trail markers and I remember the last
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Sobaeksan National Park
time, I had same feeling of am I going the right way. Luckily, there were a few other people coming and going in each direction to keep me on the right trail and stop me wandering off into the woods. I came out of the woods and came across the very steep set of stairs. They didn't feel as bad this time and I feel like I got up them a bit quicker. I was dismayed when I reached the top to see there was another set of stairs leading down. All that effort, just to go down again.

The next part of the trail, I think maybe about two kilometres to the peak, was along the ridgeline. It was really nice, as the sun had now come out and the sky was a lovely shade of blue. The trees all looked amazing covered in snow. I could have spent hours taking photos of them. I could see the peak I had come from and the peak I was heading to, the view was beautiful. However, this part of the trail felt a longer than it did last time. The snow was definitely making me walk a bit slower
Snowy TreeSnowy TreeSnowy Tree

Sobaeksan National Park
than normal. I reached the three way intersection via a bit of bum shuffling. It was really busy there, people were totally hogging the trail, without a care for others wanting to get past. The last 600 metres to the highest peak, Birobong, was definitely easier than last time. I think the lack of rain helped a lot. It is pretty much all stairs up to reach the peak. I was surprised how busy it was, there were about a million hikers up there. This meant that I couldn't get any decent photos of the peak marker, oh well! However, this time I could see the view! It was stunning, but so cold. my fingers were frozen after taking my gloves off to get some photos.

From the peak, I retraced my steps to the three way intersection. It was beautiful to look across and see the other peaks in both directions. I wish one day I could continue on to the next peak, or take a different route down to a different finishing place. I would have liked to stop and take more pictures of the views, but the wind was fierce and my fingers were frozen. I
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Sobaeksan National Park
had them scrunched up inside my gloves to try and get some heat back into them. I was also having a dilemma as my hood wouldn't stay up because of the wind, but even in my gloves my fingers were too cold to hold it up. My face would just have to get a bit numb. At the intersection, which was pretty crowded, I took the path down to Cheondong. The trail was a bit slippery, but I was still too lazy to put my crampons on, so I just held on to the rope fence and skidded down best I could. I did fall over at one point, when I stopped to take some photos of the random dead looking tree (it looks a lot better than my description), of course I was more worried about my camera than myself.

The further I descended the trail changed, the snow disappeared and there were quite a lot of icy rocks to walk on. I fell again, and I am blaming the bastards who were hogging the good bit of non icy ground, if they hadn't of been there I could have kept walking and would have been fine. I
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Sobaeksan National Park
found it easier to walk down the sides of the trail which was like a gutter filled with dead leaves. It was a lot less slippery! I met up with some of the others and we took a rest at a kind of picnic platform, but I didn't rest too long, as I had itchy feet to keep going and reach the end. The rest of the trail down was a bit boring. My tiredness had caught up with, maybe walking so far yesterday was not the best thing. We did go past a nice stream, on which the water had frozen. It looked really pretty. Finally we reached the end of the trail and then had to watch a few hundred metres more to reach the village. The sun was starting to go down by this point.

We were all starving after we finished the hike, so we headed to one of the restaurants by the car park to have some dinner. The hike had taken longer than planned, but it didn't matter. We all tucked into some delicious haemul pajeon (seafood pancake) and kimchi jjigae (stew). And, of course, like true Korean hikers we washed it down
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Sobaeksan National Park
with some locally brewed makgeolli. A meal like this is a great way to end the hike and the day. The bus journey back was a little longer, but still not too bad, as it only took about two hours.


Additional photos below
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Near Yeonghwabong 2nd ShelterNear Yeonghwabong 2nd Shelter
Near Yeonghwabong 2nd Shelter

Sobaeksan National Park
Winter WonderlandWinter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland

Sobaeksan National Park
Pine TreePine Tree
Pine Tree

Sobaeksan National Park
Snowy TreeSnowy Tree
Snowy Tree

Sobaeksan National Park
Snowy TrailSnowy Trail
Snowy Trail

Sobaeksan National Park
ObservatoryObservatory
Observatory

Sobaeksan National Park
Snowy TrailSnowy Trail
Snowy Trail

Sobaeksan National Park
Snowy TrailSnowy Trail
Snowy Trail

Sobaeksan National Park
Snowy TrailSnowy Trail
Snowy Trail

Sobaeksan National Park
Snowy TrailSnowy Trail
Snowy Trail

Sobaeksan National Park
Snowy TrailSnowy Trail
Snowy Trail

Sobaeksan National Park
Snowy TrailSnowy Trail
Snowy Trail

Sobaeksan National Park
Snowy TreesSnowy Trees
Snowy Trees

Sobaeksan National Park
Snowy TrailSnowy Trail
Snowy Trail

Sobaeksan National Park


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