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Published: April 14th 2016
Finally, I am getting to hike Bulamsan! I have wanted to hike this mountain for ages and have attempted to a couple of times, but never found the trail head. We took the subway to Gongneung and came out of exit one. We walked the streets to the start of the trail. I wasn't really paying much attention, too busy chatting, so I don't know which direction we went in. I think there maybe easier ways to reach the trail head. When we got there, I saw signs for the Dulle Gil, so it might be easier to use one of the subway stations on their trail.
It was a gorgeous day, very warm and sunny. It definitely felt like spring had arrived. The trail was very easy to start off with. It was quite flat and plenty of room to move about. After a while, it changed and we were heading uphill, however the trail was still nice and wide. There were a few hikers about but not too many. The trail wasn't too strenuous. We stopped for a rest and a snack, before continuing on. We skirted the edge of a flat picnic area, that looked like it
could have had a little mountain restaurant on it, but we didn't get close enough for me to check. It wasn't long before the peak was in sight.
We took the stairs (there are always stairs) and stopped just shy of the peak. This was a nice area to sit and have lunch. Lots of other people had stopped here, too. After eating my kimbap and taking in the view, we climbed the last few stairs to the peak. It was busy up there! I don't know where all the hikers had come from. We got some photos with the peak marker, Bulamsan is 508 metres high. There was an even higher point, but it was too busy and I din't feel like scrambling over the rocks to get to it. From the peak, we headed down. We took some random paths, that I would never have thought to take if I were by myself. We also did some climbing, using the ropes that are in place to heave ourselves over the rocks. That was a lot of fun. Since Bulamsan isn't too high, it didn't take us long to reach the bottom. We came out of the trees
near a road.
We crossed a road and came to the start of the trail to head up Suraksan. The peak was 3.8 kilometres away. I was dreading going up Suraksan as last time I did it, it was really difficult. However this trail seemed easier. We did stop quite a few times, we were definitely taking it easy today, even though we were doing a long, quite demanding hike, we were in no rush. This trail seemed easier than the trail, I had done last time, no evil steep stone steps. We took a rest in the shade, sitting on some rocks, before continuing on. The weather was great, but it was a bit hazy, so the views were a little obscured because of that. Still, the scenery was stunning. I am lucky to have such good hiking and views, practically on my doorstep.
The trail changed and became lots of rocks. We passed some nice areas, and continued on to a place where there were stunning views. There was also a lady selling water, beer, and ice cream. So we took a rest there. I had been trying to conserve the last of my water, so
I didn't run out before the peak. I was happy to pay the extortionate 2,000 won for a small bottle of water. I am happy to have the option and that someone else has lugged it up the mountain. I also bought a red bean ice cream. I enjoyed the ice cream, but my lips didn't. The ice cream was so cold, that my top lip froze on to it. Being impatient, I ripped the ice cream off my lip, which left it bleeding. Ah well, never mind, it will heal. It was too hot sitting in the sun, but we got too cold sitting in the shade. We then continued on, as we were only a few hundred metres from the peak. Somehow the group had split up, as happens and I was with two very good and experienced hikers. The next part of the hike was awesome! We seemed to go off the designated trail and were scrambling up and over rocks. I was in the middle and the person behind was calling out instructions to the person in front of me. Awesome teamwork! I really enjoyed this, as when I hike alone, I would be too scared
to do anything like that in case I hurt myself. We then tackled the steps to reach the peak of Suraksan at 638 metres.
From the peak of Suraksan, we headed down the other side. At first there were some steps, then it turned into a proper trail. I saw a signpost of Gicha Bawi, train rock, and I was excited for this as I had read about it on blogs, and had missed it last time I was there. Gicha Bawi is a steep rock face with two ropes to help you up and down. One is meant to be for going up and the other for going down, but since it was quiet we were able to take over both ropes. A few of us hadn't done this section before so some of the older, more experienced hikers/climbers helped us down. The guy helping me was lovely, chanting "left, right, left". At one point he made me stop and said I was at the middle point, he said to look up, down and around. I was really glad that he did that as I got to soak up the experience and take in the views form this
unique space. Although it was a little scary to stop in the middle of this big, bold rock.
Straight after Gicha Bawi, there was another small rope to get down the next section. There were some more small roped paths, but they weren't too difficult. The trail down was quite steep and there were quite a few steps. It soon changed into a more dusty earth path, which was a bit slippery in places. So I had to take care not to fall over. As we got down into the valley, there was a river with some kids and adults playing in it. Most of us decided to take our shoes off and dip our feet in the water. It was heavenly after the long hike. Some said the water was really cold, but I didn't find it cold at all, only refreshing. From there we continued down and down, walking over lots of big and small rocks, and crossing the small river. We came to a toilet block and a temple that marked the end of the trail.
At the end of the trail there some restaurants. Some looked a bit ghetto and offered Boshintang (dog soup),
thankfully we didn't eat at one of those (I'm not even sure if they were open or had shut down). We went to a nice looking place and feasted on some seafood pajeon and beer. It was a lovely meal and dirt cheap, there was even free coffee, and not the crappy stick stuff, but proper strong black coffee. We emerged from the street that the restaurants where on, on to the main road. There was a subway station just across the main road. We were at Jangam Station, which is at the end of line 7. Since it is the terminating/originating station the subway was waiting with lots of empty seats.
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