Thursday, February 6, 2014

Seoraksan Trekking in South Korea // Winter alternative to the blues // Photo story // Yongpyong Ski // Daecheongbong Ascent 2014 // Inspiration // Microadventure

It's winter around the northern hemisphere when I wish I was traveling by bike in the southern half enjoying their summer down under. What do I do to take up the time (laid-off from teaching over the winter). Winter is a tough season to feel inspired, to be active, and to overcome the monotony of a cold season. Here's what I did to change all that with a few micro adventures, close to home, in Gangwon-do, Korea.

First, I went skiing at Yongpyeong Resort near Hoenggye, South Korea. The all-season resort offers hiking trails in the summer, a water park for families and ski courses for all ages. Although I am not a ski bum, I found some skis that were being thrown out in my apartment complex, Rossignal Viper S 190cm with Marker bindings alpine design - like new condition - for free with Kastle poles. With Nordica race boots, I had enough equipment for the slopes without spending more than $30 on the ski binding settings and the season pass at $400. Ready, steady, go.
My other interest has been winter trekking and staying overnight inside Seoraksan National Park. Hiking and mountain trekking is probably the best winter past-time activity in Gangwon-do, Korea. My friend Zac is trail running as well, so there are several ways to enjoy the trails. We don't have groomed trails like in the United States, so Fatbikes aren't an option just yet. However, the Winter Olympics 2018 are coming and perhaps more winter sports will take off when it comes bringing more Western culture sports to Korea.
 Another wintry day up at 1500 meters above sea level. Location of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
 The Green is an intermediate slope and they are building the snowboard course on the left side.
 I am not a winter person, hate the long nights and short days of winter. Staying frosty here though and passing the time before going back for the final year of teaching in Korea.
 This is the view on the walk into Seoraksan National Park. I usually start at the park administration building and walk 2 kilometers to the official entrance near the Buddhist temples. What starts out as a casual hike into the park entrance past the bronze Buddha at Sinheungsa temple becomes a vigorous trek to the peak.
 The flat first 2 km are perfect for in/out of the park. This is a 12-18 hour trek to Daecheongbong Peak located 12 kilometers inside the park at 1708 meters above sea level.
 Ancient stones recreated and assembled as long ago.
 The views are spectacular. Everyone who visits South Korea in the winter should visit this area.
 I met this super friendly professional photographer. His photos were mind-blowing and he completes projects on nature, the environment, and female nudes. All amazing work, thanked him for sharing.
 The trail is designed with staircases, bridges, and hard rock paths. Most hikers will wear their ice crampons, which are attached with rubber belts or chain mesh designs, the price ranges from $5-25 for a set.
 The sunlight strikes inside these valleys for stunning winter scenery

 This is the view about half way into the climb.

 I met a college student group, they were awesome in sharing their trek to the Daecheongbong Peak 1708m and we spent the night at the Socheong shelter while EBS (Educational Broadcasting Station) was filming for the their February broadcast of Extreme Jobs. The episode covered Mountain Rescue EMS teams.

 This is one of the two peaks, with military satellite reception on top. Winds were really blowing up there.
 Here's our group, sorry I don't have all your names written here. This is inside the Socheong shelter (7,000won per night, reservations recommended)
 Outside it was cold, the winds picked up to 28 meters/second.

 This is the Socheong shelter just 600 meters away from Daecheongbong Peak.

 We made it all the way to the top as a team. An awesome day for sure.

 EBS filming on location. Their battery packs were losing charge, it was very cold that morning.

 Sweet sunrise at the peak!

 Epic trails and views from the top. This trek is from the main park entrance at Sokcho-dong.

And I hiked out of the park with this woman, she bought me herbal tea at a mountain shop when we parted ways. It's quite common to meet people on South Korean mountains, share some short conversation (in many cases English is not fluently understood or spoken) and share some tea or dinner at the shelter. Reservations must be made in advance for weekends, even in winter.

If you are interested in more information about Seoraksan National Park, read my earlier blog from 2012/13

Thanks for visiting the Korean-World. - Brian.

Adventure, Be positive, Stay Healthy.

and remember to live the life we have been given. 
Life today in the present.

Find Inspiration Outside with Nature.

Strive to be Happy.

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About the Korean-World Author

Brian Perich was an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) lecturer for a decade, father, and adventure cyclist based in South Korea.

Previously, Brian has led Canoe adventures in Quetico Provincial Park, Atikokan, Ontario, Canada (1993/1999); led Grand American camping adventures (2000); lived at Paramahansa Yogananda's SRF Ashram for 5 months (see the film "AWAKE"), formerly worked in titanium welding at Agilent Technologies, formerly worked in Winery industry in Marin County with Kendall Jackson in California; Surfing and Meditation continued for several years in California, British Columbia, South Korea, Yoga training in California 1999-2000.

Between 1994-1998 - Brian completed his own adventures with motorcycles. His motorcycling marathons took him across the United States and central/western Canada, while traveling solo over an astounding 24,000km in 60 days! Brian endured 900 mile/1300km average days in the motorcycle saddle and apparently loved every minute of those adventures.

Today, he has given up motorcycle adventures altogether, but finds an outlet for his enthusiasm in outdoor recreation while bicycle touring and micro-blogging about those experiences on his mountain bikes.

While employed as an English teacher in South Korea, Brian has became an advocate for bicycle touring on his mountain bikes. The Korean-World blog originated from those small adventures in Korea, now expanded to cover his recent trek down the TransMongolian highway to the Gobi Desert, cycling 900km east through the Khentii grasslands and in 2012 crossing Mongolia in 45 days, 2500 kilometers 1553 miles. HimalayasX expedition Brian previously cycled across western China, the Taklamakan Desert, the northern Himalayas of East Turkestan Xinjiang/Uyghur Autonomous Region, the corrugated back roads and mountains of Kham Tibet. Brian successfully completed his 2011 mountain bike expedition with 3200 kilometers / 1988 miles unsupported, on/off road MTB adventure cycling.
Brian has completed his second mountain bike journey, MongoliaX expedition - Crossing Mongolia 2012, an unsupported mountain bike MTB expedition across 2500km of Outer Mongolia from Ulanbaatar to Altai Taven-Bogd National Park bordering China, Russia and Mongolia.

In 2013, as a sequel to a trilogy of cycle tours, Brian enjoyed a more leisure bicycle tour onboard his Koga-Miyata World Traveller seeing the northern tier of the United States and western Canada covering 3400 kilometers / 2000 miles in 30 days. This North American cycle tour was called Totherocktour. Enjoying the adventure of bicycle travel and every great conversation started while traveling on the road - has refueled his inspirations to cycle around the Earth. In 2013, while he cycled solo from the Great Lake State of Michigan, United States to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. He weaved through local communities and reconnected with friends, family and community after spending almost a decade in Asia.

Brian is now supporting several non-profit foundations through expeditions: IDEAS Foundation of Canada IDEAS is the acronym for Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society which supports the IBD community, those suffering from IBD-inflammatory bowel disease, also known as Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis.

The second non-profit foundation is ETE.ORG - Education Through Expeditions, UK which supports educational outreach programs inside schools around the world. ETE connects explorers with students in the classroom, through an interactive online program in development (Beta).

Brian is researching support for a 18000 kilometer bicycle expedition across the Americas: North, Central and South America - ONE -Arctic to Argentina
Please contact him if you are interested in helping out.

Twitter: Cycleagain
Location: Gangneung, Gangwon-do, South Korea or southern Ontario, Canada.

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Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

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