Saturday, May 1, 2010

Here I Go Again

Last weekend was so much fun, and so today I thought I would go looking for some more.  I have been looking on Google Earth, the new one thats like MapQuest on roids, and I found an area that looked like a second Urimji.  I kinda had an idea where it was, so I got up early, 12:00 (early for me), and headed to find this fabled land.  It turned out to be a lovely 65 degrees with sunny blue skies, so I knew only good things would follow.

After last week's flower bonanza I thought it would be best to not take any more pictures of any flowers.  Also, most of the flowers have already turned to leaves.   However, this turned out to be impossible, because the flowers just made it too easy!

While browsing Google Earth I found a short cut to the second Urimji through the original Urimji, so I started there.  And this is where I first broke my no flower policy.  I know, I am quite resilient.  I also, got the waterfalls involved as well, and a quick video because a still shot of a waterfall is quite boring.

Now I was a little bit nervous, because I used Google Earth once, and while it is fun, and quickly distracting, sometimes my memory isn't as keen.  Unlike MapQuest you can't print it off, so you go on raw memory.  And  due to an excessive use of Antiperspirant deodorant, loaded with Aluminum, my memory can be a little sketchy at times.  However, I was feeling particularly brave and so I winged it.

On the way to the second Urimji, the path followed a quiet little river.  The man-made walls of the river were built to an excessive height, I think due to monsoon season, so it took away from the natural feel of things.  But man made can be quite beautiful sometimes.

Than out of nowhere, I saw it under a bridge.  Something that in a strange way made me feel at home.  In my travels in Korea I had not seen any of this.  Honestly, I had quite a chuckle when I saw it.  Please enjoy this graffiti, it might be the only of its kind in all of Korea.

Also, I felt guilty for taking any pictures of dandelions, because I know that they are nasty little things.  I didn't want to gratify them in any way, but the sheer amount of them demanded a picture or two.  You think your lawn has it bad!

Along the way, I came across this cute little park.  It had some crazy trees, and some really really pretty flowers.  It was right along the river, and I could imagine it would be great for a picnic.  Also, I finally got a bumblebee in one of my pictures.  I can't describe how many are in the trees, but now you know that they exist, and in all likelihood plotting my demise as I type.

After all this excitement, I still had not spotted the second Urimji.  I began to wonder in my heart if Google Earth had failed me again.  Was this just mythical, or did the second Urimji actually physically exist.  In the very back of the park, I spotted a massive hill, and than shortly after that a massive flight of stairs that looked like they might lead to Heaven.  They looked endless and I didn't take a picture, because it might invoke tremendous terror on the kind and gracious readers of this blog.  However, I battled up those endless stairs and climb the last two to this.

The fabled, and once thought to be mythical, second Urimji stood there in all of its brillance.  It was very beautiful, and minus the crowds, a true hidden gem.  I sat there for a second, mainly to catch my breath, and took in the views.  I also, got a picture of Jecheon from afar and another picture of the second Urimji from a higher position.

You might ask how I got so high, and that is the twist in this story.  You see every since Amy and I failed to summit during our epic climb in the Seobaksan Mountains, I have harbored this summit fever.  I felt so defeated, and if Amy wasn't there I would have lost my life trying.  So, I also was looking up smaller mountains to climb around the second Urimji.

I was trying to follow a stream up a nearby mountain.  I guess I shouldn't really say mountain, maybe hill, but it adds to the story, sorry writer's liberty.  So, while I was looking around I saw this trail off in the trees.  Not really marked off real well, which made me nervous, but still a trail.  It was just calling my name, like we had been separated at birth.  So with no water, and no idea how high I would have to climb, I accepted its invitation.

Lucky for me it turned out to be fairly mild, but by the end I was huffing and puffing and sweating like a Nanney.  It amazes me, because I was sporting shorts and a t-shirt and the Koreans had pants and jackets and didn't sweat at all.  They must think I am some kind of monster, oh well.  Anyways here are some pictures of my journey up this mountain.

Make no mistake either, I thought I was about to summit three separate times.  The mountain was tricking me, and I think it was having fun doing it.   Each time I thought, "that wasn't so bad," but by the last time I wasn't thinking only sweating.  Near the summit, again I know this is a ridiculous word to use but please just humor me, it was quite intense, the terrain was really steep.  But just when I thought I couldn't go any more, or actually 15 minutes after I thought that, I saw the top.  I climbed with earnest and summited.  To be honest it was way to gratifying.  The climb was mildly difficult, but I saw a sign that said it was only 1km.  My pride balloon quickly deflated.  Here are some pictures of what I saw at the summit, and even a picture of me so you can see my delight.

This is Semyung University and its soccer fields.  They don't use grass, I don't know why, it is a little bizarre.

Here is Jecheon, can you see my apartment?  Don't worry I can't either.

This is a picture of the original Urimji.

Though I didn't want to leave the mountaintop, the flies were numerous, and so I thought it was time to head down.  But not before I did some pull ups, 7 once I was done with that bar.

On my descent I was quickly reminded that going down can be worse than going up.  The forest floor was real slick and I was holding my camera and sweatshirt.  I eventually realized my need for aid, and grabbed a stick to balance myself.  Just before I enlisted the help of my faithful stick though I saw the funniest thing.  A wild animal, and you have to remember that I have seen 0 squirrels and 3 bunnies since I have been in Korea, and that is all.  So I was really excited.  It turned out to be a mix between a squirrel and a bunny, my reasoning for this is due to the lack of wildlife the squirrels and the bunnies had no choice.  Don't worry I got a video.

There were a few scary moments, and some how I ended up on a different trail that took me back to the park, but by the end of my descent I was jogging just like the Koreans.  Honestly, it is so much easier to run down the mountain once the terrain becomes a little more forgiving.  I just used my legs and let gravity do the work.  I felt proud, like a mountain man, now I see the draw to this.  Here is a picture of a flower I took on the way down.  Also, a picture of  a tomb.  These are scattered all over the mountains, and yes it is okay to farm right next to them.

Finally, it was time to head back home.  Along the way I just wanted to show the magnitude of the dandelions so I shot a quick video, and some of the trees were so beautiful I thought that I might amend my no flowers policy a few more times.  Also, I found a coffee house that roasted its own coffee, and it was worthy of some pictures.

I ended my day with a trip to E-mart where I grabbed some essentials.  Barbeque sauce, M & M's (a big bag), a basketball (I found a court nearby), and something else but it must remain a secret.  Than I went to go see Iron Man 2, which was just delightful.  And now I'm making tacos and so I must go.  Though tomorrow I have something planned that just might trump everything so far.

To be continued...


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