An Afternoon Stroll

In 2019, I was fortunate enough to visit a lot of places in Korea. For 2020, I want to focus more on visiting places in my city and province. 

With the semester over, I’m on desk warming duty to prepare for the next school year. This gives me a lot of afternoons off to be able to explore more in Boryeong. 

Average temperatures are in the 30s (Fahrenheit. Anywhere between -7*C and 0*C) and cloudy days have been common this winter. It’s snowed a few times already, but nowhere near the amounts back home. 

This colder weather makes for a good opportunity to go hiking. About 30% of South Korea consists of mountains, so you don’t have to travel far to find some hiking trails nearby.

Growing up, it was common for our family to go hiking in the winter. We’d dress up warmly and head to one of the state parks. 

Starved Rock was one of our favorites. During the winter, the various waterfalls would freeze, and you could even see ice climbers on some of the larger waterfalls. 

We would stop for hot chocolate after we were done, and it was always a fun opportunity to spend time together as a family. 

Back to today, I’m on Okmasan mountain. From here, I can see the Yellow Sea to the west of the city and can even see one of Korea’s largest power plants in the distance as well. 

Okmajeong Pavilion on Okmasan Mountain
View of Boryeong from Okmajeong Pavilion

It’s up here where I think back to childhood. Our parents were always encouraging us to go outside and explore. 

This was before the days of smartphones and video games. We would be at the park until after sunset and our mom would yell from across the street to come home for dinner. 

When our dad was fixing up the porch, it was open up enough where we could climb underneath and pretend we were exploring an underground cave. We were fearless. 

We didn’t care about getting dirty or what was trending on Facebook or Youtube. Looking back, life was just simpler. 

Up on Okmasan, my hands are freezing. I’ve gotten the videos I wanted for a project and the sun is already starting to disappear. 

Sunrise Observatory overlooking the valley below

This wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve been stuck up here after it’s gotten dark. I try not to make a habit of it, but it’s easy to lose track of time. 

You see, there are a lot of tombs scattered around this Confuscian-centered country, and I tend to have an overactive imagination. On the way up the mountain, I passed by one such tomb, and today I don’t want to have any ghost interactions again. 

I spy a shortcut, the path built on wheel-chair friendly platforms that break off from the main path and lead down the mountain; at least that’s what I hope. This path abruptly ends and the steep mountain trail with it’s jagged rocks begins. 

The irony is not lost on me. I slowly make my way down and regret my choice of wearing Vans today. I can feel each of the rocks as I go down the path. Even though it’s getting  darker, I have to take advantage of the photo opportunities inside this mountain forest. 

Today my body is sore from yesterday’s hike, but it was a fun opportunity to see a location that’s within walking distance of my apartment. 

I’ve started looking at the videos, and I’ll link it here once I’ve finished editing. In my head, I’m already planning out my next afternoon adventure, but for now I’ve got some lesson plans to work on.

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