Saturday, March 15, 2014

Microadventure // Trekking in Daegwallyeong Mountain // S24O // South Korea winter backpacking in Gangwon Province // Public sauna spas in Korea 찜질방 // Camping spas and winter trekking // Brian Peric presents

 How do you start off on a microadventure? 

Well, it's easy. Pack your lightweight backpack with extra shirts, wear merino wool base layers in winter that keep you warm and dry easily, and remember to take a pot/lid, cook stove (butane is good), noodles, tuna can, nuts, raisins and 3-4 liters of water for two people.

Where did our overnight microadventure begin?
We started this adventure from my apartment in Gangneung City, Gangwon-do, South Korea. We walked for 10 minutes to the Gangneung Express Bus terminal, and bought 2,500 Korean won tickets to Hoenggye village near YongPyong 2018 Olympic ski area in Pyeongchang county.

Daniel Bissell is my guest for this trip and together we make a great microadventure team for spring trekking in South Korea. We hiked for two half days and completed about 7 hours of walking along a 20km course from Hoenggye village, Pyeongchang county back into the Pine City in Gangneung, Gangwon-do.

We decided on a winter #microadventure this weekend S24O (Sub-24 hour Overnight) trek through Daegwallyeong via Hoenggye and Gangneung, South Korea. We started out on a Thursday afternoon from Gangneung City, Gangwon-do Express Bus terminal, we took a 20 minute bus ride over the Taebaeksan coastal mountain range between the 2018 Winter Olympic region of Pyeongchang county to Hoenggye village. Express bus tickets can be purchased on location (2,500 Korean won) one-way for Hoenggye village. Once inside the small town, it's a relatively easy walk through town, past bakeries and convenience stores for your fresh bread and hot coffee (CU Mart is just East of the Bus Terminal, walk towards the Taebaek Mountains in the distance).

There are a series of small rural roads that will connect with Highway 456 and the official starting point of the trail head. We used to DH mountain there in 2011 with Ahn Daegi from Gagneung Bike Mart, but the trail has officially closed to mountain biking since it's shared with hikers and trekking groups. It's a quiet trail. This is nothing like Bukansan Mountain in northern Seoul or Seoraksan Mountain trekking S24O in Sokcho-dong. There are also many Korean national parks to choose from, each geographical location and trail network is quite unique to explore.
I have had several previous Microadventures in South Korea, including the Mountain Cougar (Puma) crossing Microadventure S24O. In autumn, you can see the colors changing on the deciduous trees, on this 24-hour mountain bike microadventure I met up with a mother Cougar or mountain puma while cycling from Gangneung on Daegwallyeong Highway 456 and south through the Taebaeksan Mountains on Highway 6/59 South from Jinbu village. On the southbound two-lane highway through a beautiful mountain plateau, I passed small farms and followed the Odaecheon river. Gangwon Province's Taebaeksan mountains are located in a northeast region of South Korea with 1000 meter+ peaks and colorful forests, mountain streams with cascading waterfalls with extensive hiking trails and Korean national parks dedicated to free public usage.
Mountain bike microadventures (Puma Crossing)
 Downhill DH winter mountain biking on Daegwallyeong trail. Location is nearby the Sheep farm paid trails.

 On the Daegwallyeong trail we immediately found a hard snow pack which made the hike relatively easy.

 Gangwon-do is well known for it's pine forests, we walked through many of those small forests.
 Open spaces for clearing your thoughts, burning calories, relaxing in nature, one with the surroundings.

 Looking through a fence outside the Sheep farm, a beautiful open range looking west towards Hoenggye.

 Icicles and pine trees budding, it's almost spring here.

 Oh winter, loving the trail hikes in Korea!


 We walked up the service road and examined the military surveillance station closed to the public. 
 Local hiking clubs visiting the Daegwallyeong trail leave their pennants.
 Watch tower is empty but a reminder of the North and South Korean military occupations since the Korean War of 1950-1953. Although military activity has ceased in this particular part of the trail, I have seen patrols occasionally. Fortunately, most activity is north of the Daegwallyeong-myeon area.

 Koreans put park benches along the hiking trail, just where you need them.
 The Daegwallyeong trail crosses over Freeway-Highway 65 connecting Sokcho City and the southern cities

 Our microadventure was simple. We decided to Express Bus to Hoenggye village (2,500won) and hike back down Daegwallyeong trail (parallel to Old Daegwallyeong Highway 456) and along this route we had great views of the adjacent mountains, streams flowing. The sights and sounds were relaxing. 

 We rounded out the day with a dinner of vegetarian delight, some ramen noodles, Daniel prepared the chili bean sandwiches on whole wheat bread, and the chili bean can itself was used as a warming cup for hot coffee. We enjoyed dinner past sunset and decided to continue through hiking to a local public Bathhouse Sauna (Jimjilbang) located along Old Daegwallyeong Highway 456 west of Gangneung. When visiting Korea, always remember to visit a Jim-Jil-Bang bathhouse. This location charges 7,500 Korean won for Gangneung residents, blankets are rented for 1,000 Korean won.

Daniel spoke Korean and asked to kept our backpacks behind the public sauna's (Jim-jil-bang) front desk. After a good soak in the spa, hot rooms, and cave rooms (very very hot dry sauna) we asked for another set of shirts and shorts (a uniform rented by the sauna) to sleep in. They have mats and rectangular vinyl pillows available to sleep on, they are always free to use in South Korea. 
A Jimjilbang (Hangul: 찜질방; hanja: -房) is a large, gender-segregated public bathhouse in Korea, furnished with hot tubs, showers, Korean traditional kiln heated saunas.

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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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