Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It's finally hiking season again!

( Amarisse & myself at 400m )

Jagged Ridge Island Hike & Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

The weather is warming up, and that means one amazing thing. The outdoor activities are once again available. I haven't been hiking since November, and I didn't even realize how much I've been missing it. On Friday night, I got off work and gathered with some friendlies to head up to Apgujeong to catch a bus down to Tong-young (통영) with 80 other foreigners on a Discover Korea trip.

We cozied up on the bus for a five hour bus ride down south. When we arrived, we all continued sleeping for about an hour. Well, most people slept; it was far too damn hot on that bus for me to sleep. I just eagerly awaited the doors to open so that I could get off and stretch my legs. We were given about an hour and half to look around and watch the sunrise. As with many other places in Korea, this location was equipped with a statue of the legendary Admiral Yi Sun Shin. There was also a little part with a whole bunch of topiaries. Amarisse & I strolled down to check out the park and the sunrise. It was also at this point that Justin began his weekend habit of walking off in random directions to find awesome places to sit (photos will explain). I didn't realize it until I was out there watching it, but I don't think I'd seen a sunrise in ages.

( Waiting for the sunrise in the wrong location )

( One of Justin's spots )

( The Park )

( Admiral Yi Sun Shin )

( JC & Katrina )

( Amarisse, riding a swan topiary )

( Can you find Justin? )

( Sunrise )

After the sunrise was finished, we hopped back on the bus for a short drive out to another harbor, where we were to take a ferry out to Saryang-do (사량도). It was pretty neat; I'd never taken a ferry ride like that before. It was a forty minute ride, and the weather was beautiful. We stood outside and looked at all of the islands and fishing boats as we passed by. 

( the ferry )

Saryang-do (사량도)

Once we arrived on the island, we took a few extra minutes to stretch and let the masses get a head start on the mountain. We didn't want to deal with struggling through the huge crowd we came with. The hike was beautiful. Since it was on an island, every time we reached a peak or walked across a ridge, we could see amazing views of the ocean and the other islands on both sides. It was also nice that there were many choices. You could make this hike as easy or as difficult as you wanted. Every time you saw a big rock face to climb, it was always accompanied by a detour route that bypassed it. Justin & I usually took the tougher of the two. Even though they were more difficult, they were far from impossible. 

Before departing on the ferry, we found a little shop to buy some makgeolli. Little did we know, we were getting a giant bottle of homemade makgeolli. It was delicious, but a little chunky. Meh, it was a great way to celebrate every time we reached a high point. We took many makgeolli breaks and a couple whisky breaks on the big peaks. We probably stopped every thirty minutes to take photos, gaze at the scenery, and relax. I'm pretty sure we still managed to finish the hike an hour early. Not only was the hike awesome, but the weather was gorgeous. We were hiking in t-shirts. I hadn't been outside in a t-shirt since last year. AMAZING. I actually managed to get a sunburn on my neck. After we finished, ferried back to the mainland and bussed it to the pension. At the pension, we had a big meal and were all asleep before ten thirty. A day of hiking can really take a lot out of everyone.

( Pre-hike photo [thanks Chelsea])

( One of many makgeolli breaks )

( Chelsea )

( Group Photo on the mountain. [thanks Chelsea] )

( The ultimate Lord of the Rings ridge walk )

( Justin stacking rocks )

( JC stacking rocks )

( Amarisse stacking rocks )

( Another makgeolli break )

( JC & Katrina )

( The girls: Amarisse, Katrina & Chelseas )

The Boys
( The boys: JC, myself & Justin [thanks Chelsea] )

( JC enjoying yet another makgeolli break )

( My turn )

( gazing [thanks Chelsea] )

( The gang )

( hiking map )

( Thanks Amarisse for making me look more awesome than I really am )

Jinhae (진해) Cherry Blossom Festival

In the morning, we awoke to some ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches before we jumped back in the bus to start the day. We stopped off to see a life-size replica of one of Admiral Yi Sun Shin's turtle boats and have some coffee. After this, it was about a two hour bus ride out to Jinhae to see some cherry blossoms. I don't know if we were running late or what, but we only had two hours to indulge in the festivities. We were able to walk along a really pretty stream lined with cherry blossom trees, and after this, Justin and I took a mild hike up 365 steps to get a nice view of all of Jinhae. I had a few beers and enjoyed myself. Around 3 o'clock we were on the road again. We played Scrabble drinking game and watched Star Trek. Before we knew it, we were let off the bus on the side of the highway in Suwon, and we were home by nine. Good trip.

( Cherry Blossoms )

( Let's take a silly one, )

( a normal one )

( & a pensive one. )

( I'm on a bridge. )

( JC & Katrina )

Group Jinhae
( Group shot on a bridge [thanks Chelsea] )

( Topiaries in Jinhae )

( Jinhae )

( Jinhae )

( Justin under the blossoms )

Thanks for a good time, everyone.
( Group shot courtesy of Amarisse )

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