We left our hostel to go to a 민박 (Minbak) closer to the mountain. It's kind of like a cheapy condo...you bring everything but there are beds and dishes and things. They were going to charge us extra for hot water, actually (Thenardier style, anyone?) but then were nice and turned on the boiler for and hour in the evening for us after we came back from our little hike at Soraksan.
We headed to the mountain by taxi actually, because the bus drove off without us even though we banged on the side of it. Seriously jerk move, bus driver. But it was fine, because the taxi turned out to be the same cost as it would have taken to go by bus and we all got a seat!
We decided to just do a short hike to the waterfall while we were waiting for our timeslot for the cablecar, and it was totally worth it. We climbed/walked for around an hour to the water fall and then put out feet in the water...it felt awesome. The sights on the way were just lovely...pools in the rock that got darker and darker blue as they got progressively deeper. Not to mention how nice it was outside. This weather is just amazing...when I think back to July and how miserable it felt, it's kind of wild how much it's changed in just a few months.
Our cable car ride was short but a great view of the mountain. The whole system was actually given as a gift from Switzerland. Good job Switzerland! Talk about a useful present.
Once we got there, it was time to climb to the highest point. Something you should know about Korea is that many things that would never fly safety wise in the U.S. are perfectly ok here. Such as complete access to cliffs and very steep paths and encouragement to climb them with the help of a few cemented footholds and rope. Mom, you would have died if you saw what I climbed. But it's ok, because I am alive. I was pretty nervous going up, but the view from the top of the highest point was totally worth it. The only thing close to how awesome it was is maybe the view form Mulanje in Malawi.
After a climb down and a quick walk through the buddhist temple area, we taxied back to the minbak for some much needed rest. I think I fell asleep earlier than I have in weeks. Unfortunately, our fellow minbak stayers were less than courteous in the noise department, so most of us didn't get a lot of sleep. I had some earplugs, so I did ok, but apparently it was rather loud.
Then we met Heather and Michael and Yoonseo near the bus stop in Sokcho and made our journey back home!
It was a fantastic vacation, and so I wrote a little rinky-dink poem. It's not very good...but it kind says a little of my feelings about the whole time:
For the pieces of it hiding in
the clatter of wooden sticks
wrapped in rice dough
pinched tight with the 콩
in an old finger tracing
crosses onto a sleeping boy's shoulder,
praying him awake
in beach fireworks, sandcastles
and 씨름 battles, planned and unplanned
in generosity to strangers and
forgiveness for forgotten gifts
In seaside communions of Hite and poundcake
(날마다 우리에게...give us this day)
in the path iced in the waves by a
round coin moon
in apologies for awkward 분위기
and thankfulness towards fish
in shared bibimbap and in
not asking 5명 타도 돼요?
in stories told and in being quiet all
together and in laughing laughing laughing
(Can you hear it....?)
For every piece, gracious God,
정말, 정말 감사합니다.
Thanks for reading!