Seoraksan National Park

Korea has Smokey the Bear too!

Day 2 in Sokcho we woke up to cloudy skies threatening rain. My plan was to go to the beach, but we quickly switched plans to go hiking in the national park that was 15 minutes away from the guesthouse. We hopped on the bus and got off right at the gates for the park. It was misty and drizzling, but we never got soaked in our full day of hiking. We started out going for a waterfall that I had read was a good family hike. Landon alternated between walking and being carried by mom or dad. Most of the time he just doesn’t want to stay on the path or go in the direction that we are trying to go.

The little waterfall on our waterfall hike

Well, about 5 minutes into our hike there was a big sign that said “No hiking! Under construction!” We wondered if there were any waterfalls for us to see before the construction (there were no signs of construction near the sign). Then a group of ladies came down the trail and we decided to follow them to check it out. It ended up being a nice flat hike through the forest- everything was so vibrant and green from the rainfall and we were protected from the rain by the tall trees all around. One thing that is interesting about Korean national parks is that randomly there were restaurants and souvenir shops along the trail- far away from roads, etc. We came upon one such restaurant, which is where the group of ladies was headed. I guess they had a little lunch bunch group going or something. We continued along the trail but quickly came upon the spot where construction started- there was not any way we were getting to the waterfall. Oh well, we turned around and headed back to the main gate.

After having our first plans squashed, we decided to go check out the Buddhist temple and perhaps go on a short hike up above it. The temple was built in the 1600s and it was pretty cool. They had a mineral spring and dippers that you could come take a drink. I just filled up my water bottle, hoping that doing it that way would be more sanitary.

Gate into the temple complex with a sleepy baby

Big Buddha- but not as big as the other Buddha

Dry riverbed for run-off 

Austin taking a break from carrying Landon- very soon after this he woke up!

The hike up to the gorge we ended up going to was gorgeous but challenging. At this point, Landon fell asleep on Austin’s back and slept for only about 30 minutes before waking up and wanting to climb himself. He did a great job holding my hand and climbing the rocks. He is obsessed with rocks right now and wanted to pick every rock up and put it in his pocket. We would only let him have a few at a time due to decreased pocket space and us not wanting to haul his heavy self along with heavy rocks up the mountain!

Buddhist temple

A peek inside

Filling up water at the temple complex

Another vast run-off river

The mist made everything look magical!

Going up the stairs to go over the bridge

Going over the scary bridge

Feeling the cold water

We came to a big bridge and gorge with a water fall and lots of pools. It was really pretty but the water was really cold! The bridge had fairly big spaces in between the slats and it was freaky to walk across, especially with Landon. My imagination just took off with images of his feet slipping through the cracks and falling off the bridge onto the rocks below. I’m grateful that didn’t happen and we were able to have a wonderful hiking trip.

Family pic by the scary bridge

By this point, we were starving! I discovered that Landon had mixed shampoo in with the cranberries and raisins, so I tried to have a handful for snack and ended up with a shampoo taste in my mouth for the entire afternoon. I wanted roasted corn and Austin wanted a meat skewer, so we left the park and went to a food cart right outside. Unfortunately they only had corn and potato balls. The potato balls were different colors and had a gelatin like outer coating and then potato and maybe cheese or something in the middle. It was slightly sweet, kind of like cornmeal batter. At any rate, it was an interesting lunch that gave us a tummy ache later on!

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