We were very fortunate to have a four day weekend to celebrate Memorial Day. Friday night we chilled on the couch with burgers and The Office. Saturday we relaxed with coffee for hours, then bought our first grill and made kebabs for dinner. Sunday we hiked at Maisan Provincial Park, and indulged at a Brazilian grill for dinner. Monday we spent the day at Mallipo Beach, then came back and enjoyed sushi at Izmir's Japanese Fusion Restaurant (we think the fusion is between Turkey -Izmir + "turkish" decorations inside- and Japan -they serve sushi and Asian food).
Our plan was to hike the "Horse Ears" at Maisan, but we got to the top of these stairs (there were so many stairs!!) and discovered the trail was currently closed. We were really disappointed, but thought we might be able to catch another trail on the other side of the temple. (Sorry about the thumb in the picture. My cropping is not saving for some reason.)
The lanterns are out to celebrate Buddha's birthday. Inside this temple, a monk is praying to a gold Buddha statue. Everytime we see a temple, a monk, or people practicing Buddhism, I just pray. I pray hard for them to know the Truth.
I think these people are making kimchi. See the kimchi urns on the hillside?
This area was the main attraction. The rock formations that look kind of like cairns are pagodas, made entirely of piled stones without mortar. The picture below is the plaque that describes their story.
The lake offered swan-shaped paddle boats. We thought about renting a few and playing bumper boats, but thought that might be frowned upon. We walked through a market area filled with trinkets to buy and amazing-smelling barbecued ribs or galbi. There was beautiful furniture and pottery. There was also an area with a bunch of birds (peacocks, chickens, pheasants, tropical-looking birds) in cages. I don't know what those were for.
Eventually we came to what looked like a good trail. It took us several miles through the woods. The trail was the most steep I have ever been on. What Korea lacks in elevation it certainly makes up for in grade! These trails did not use switchbacks whatsoever. If the mountain goes straight down or straight up, so do you! At its steepest, there would be a guardrail on the side, which we used to hand-over-hand climb and pull our way to the top. At other places, there were rubber mats covering the hillside to give you traction as you trekked.
It was all worth it for this gorgeous view. Layered mountains with their characteristic gray blue haze is one of my favorite sights in the whole world. This, by the way, is about as clear as it ever gets in Korea.
This is Horse Ear mountain, the one we planned to climb. We hope to come back when the trail is open.
Husband and I: sweaty, tired, and oh-so-happy. Recreation is such a perfect word. I recreate outdoors and my heart and soul are re-created joyful and new.