12.31.2006

Buddhist temples and the top of the peak














Me and Jackie at the top of the peak

Yesterday, I went hiking in Gyeryongsan National Park with my friend Jackie, who has climbed all the local mountains plus some. Needless to say, she's quite the skilled hiker, and I...well, am not. But we had a good time going over the steep, rocky, even icy at times, mountain, starting at one Buddhist temple and ending at another. We could hear and see the monks starting their morning rituals as we set off. Well, not exactly starting. Jackie says they get up around 3 am. The trails in Korea are a jagged confusion of stones, sometimes in step formation, sometimes one can only guess what the stone-layers were aiming at. When going uphill, they don't bother with any sort of switchbacks, but instead ascend perilously straight up the hill (and are, therefore, equally hazardous downhill). For a morning of somewhere around 20 degrees F, there were a fair number of hikers on the trail. We hiked for about 4 or 5 hours, and by the end, my legs were screaming at me. But the view from the peak was incredible. I can see why the Buddhists retreat to this area. To be away from the smells and sounds of the city, apartment high rises, solid pavement, the clamor of traffic...life here may be harder, but surely it's simpler. Or maybe just more focused. That's where they've got it right.




















There were fountains at each temple



















Trail? At least there's a handrail...














See that light space in between the mountains? That's where we started. And we still have to go down...

3 comments:

sonnie said...

happy new year, B! hope you are well.

Kallie said...

There's a Buddhist monastary around the corner from my house. (Yes, in the suburbs of Elk Grove) Somehow i don't think it's anything like the ones where you are. Especially since there's a Dodge parked in front of it.

Asia said...

AMAZING Wow, what a great experience and beautiful surroundings! I'm so jealous!!