BootsnAll Travel Network

Woraksan National Park – Deokjusa to the mountaintop

This is a description of a trip I did at the beginning of May in 2005:

On Monday I got a bus to Chungju (no, that’s not the same as Cheongju where I went last week, even though it’s in the same province of Chungcheong buk-do.) And from there got a bus to the Songye Valley. I got off at Deokju village and found a minbak, the Weolsong Garden – had a big Korean-style room (sleep on the floor with a huge choice of bedding available.) Twenty bucks a night. I showed them where I had written that I am allergic to wheat, so they made me for dinner: acorn jelly, a very tasty large potato pancake, a large bowl of rice with some vegies – I think it was like bokkum-bap (Korean fried rice) with a broth added. The ajumah tentatively gave me some kimchi and when I ate the spicy cabbage she gave me some more. She wrote down that she would provide dinner, breakfast and a packed lunch, plus the accomodation for 40,000 won (US$40). Sounded good to me.

Tuesday I got up and ate; she had made bokkum-bap for me to take up the mountain. It was a huge quantity – I didn’t want any dinner that night after eating all that… I started up the trail and came to Deokjusa, a Buddhist temple. Note that these temples are often built in very scenic places – most national parks have one or more. (They of course long preceded the establishment of the parks…) Farther up the mountain was an ancient rock engraving of Buddha. After this the trail got steeper and it was a long ways up. I climbed to the top of the first (un-named) peak and then traversed along the ridgeline. More people appeared as the day went on – still only a few dozen climbed the mountain that day – nothing like the hordes that line the trails in the summer. After a lot of up and down I found myself on Worak Mountain, for which the National Park was named. I descended by a different route, dropping down into Songye town. It was pretty late when I got back to Deokju town and so I stayed there another night.

Here’s photos from along the climb. This rock garden is just below the temple of Deokjusa, partway up the trail. The Buddha carved in the rock face is a fair climb up the mountain from there – but still only a small part of the journey.

rock garden at Deokjusa, Weoraksan

Buddha on the rock, Weoraksan

Getting high up onto the mountain here.

rocks and pines, Weoraksan

Flowers near Peak 960, Weoraksan

The trail winds along the summit ridge for quite a while. The peak is ahead. After climbing to the top, I could see Chungju Lake down below…

Mountain top, Weoraksan

Chungjuho from Weoraksan

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Wednesday I got a bus up the valley to Mi-reuk. Here are the ruins of an ancient temple – there’s still a Buddha, outdoors, a large stone turtle, a pagoda. I had it to myself when I arrived, but soon a horde of ajumahs arrived, raced around the temple site talking animatedly and with some desultory bows in the direction of the Buddha. Within five minutes they were all heading back up the road again, leaving the area to me again. I soon went off up the road in the other direction till it ended at another temple site, this one in the process of being built. Along the way was a small stone pagoda, in a meadow of blooming azaleas.

I’ve been to Mireuksa several times since then and will have pictures and more to say in later entry.

Back in Mi-reuk village I got a bus to Suanbo, a big hot springs resort town. The restaurants here seemed to serve a lot of pheasant meat. Many areas in Korea have their feature foods – so too Suanbo. After walking around town a bit I got a bus back to Jeomchon.

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