Remember those awesome pictures of the green tea fields, Jirisan, and Gayasan? I was wearing these cool shoes - Converse. They were quite comfortable at the time, but retrospectively, provided no arch support or protection from the jagged rock trails Korea seems to fancy. I have been miserable. It was a short work week - Wednesday to Friday, and I could tell my knees were sore at the gym.
I decided to spend last Saturday hiking regardless. It wasn't the wisest choice. I ended up hiking to the first peak, but not continuing along the ridge walk because my legs were so unsteady and knees were locking constantly.
A lesson was learned though, and I took Sunday to Friday off from everything - no running, no gym, no hiking. I went out and bought an overpriced pair of good, sturdy hiking boots and am being much more aware of my joints while hiking.
Here is a belated post from last Saturday:
Gyeryongsan is right outside of Daejeon, which is great because lots of trains and buses go in and out of the city. From Daejeon, you can take a local bus to the park; the 107 will get you there in about an hour for 1,100 won. If you are coming from Daejeon train station, leave exit 2, go underground to cross the street and go straight. If you're facing with your back to the station, you want to get on the bus on the right side of the street. (As a side note, the 107 runs by the Daejeon National Cemetery as well, if you'd like to get up extra early and try to see both!)
The trail goes in a loop, so it is possible to see both main peaks in one trip. I was feeling shaky to begin with, though, and heard the ridge walk between Gwaneumbong and Sambulbong was rather dangerous. I elected to go down the way I went up, starting at Donghaksa (temple) and going up about 3 km to Gwaneumbong (peak).
A note on the trail, although my pictures show a deserted mountain and a serene environment, the reality was anything but that. The park was crawling with hikers, pushing and shoving their way up and down the trail. The problem with having a national park close to the city and easy to get to is the over crowding. It is a beautiful place, and I recommend going - just don't expect an intimate experience with nature.
The guy walking down on the left is a hiking buddy I met on a trail. He's a Korean college student taking a semester off to live in a temple on the mountain. It seems like it would be an awesome experience, and I'm a little jealous.