Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hiking 명산 (Myeongsan) with the Gangneung Boys

I think my co-workers were initially surprised when I was excited to go on the hiking trip with the school.  That may be because the previous EPIK teachers might not have been (I don't actually know, but it is always a possibility) or because hiking these mountains is really hard and certainly takes some perseverance.

I got a cool red handkerchief that I tied around my neck.  I think it was very fetching with my white capris and navy blue t-shirt.  True Americano?  I also took on Eun Shin's backpack because she let me store my food in it and it looked really heavy, but I'm used to physical exertion and this just upped my calorie burn.

The day was perfect for hiking: clear and crisp, but warm in the sun.

Starting off!  Ahh!

There was a small farm/shop area before the real trails began.  Check out this restroom - it looks kind of like a UFO/observatory or something (I thought you'd appreciate it, Dad).

The trails were not so perfect: they were so steep and winding and there were a thousand boys trudging along with their friends and then darting by me at opportune moments.  Crazy, crazy children.  If there are no handrails and a drop like that, do you think you should be running?

But man it was gorgeous and natural.

I got too hot about 30 minutes in and had to remove my handkerchief
from my neck...
The water running through the mountains was gorgeous and the pictures cannot do it justice.  There
were some really amazing rock formations that had been cut by the water, but I couldn't get close
enough or a good enough angle for pictures.  Right: hikers will stack stones and say a prayer as a sort of

I actually held a conversation with a group of boys about things they like for about 10-15 minutes which was really great.  The rest of the time I walked alone or with some of the other English-speaking teachers.  Eventually everyone just started spreading out because we were all moving at different paces.


That's Eun Shin in the orange.

 The scenery was gorgeous the whole way up and it took about 2-2.5 hours to reach the top, at which point I was sweating profusely.

I MADE IT!  I high-fived a bunch of boys at the top.  They're so cute outside
of class...

Gangneung-si from up high.
If only that power structure wasn't there... Sign of the times.
The kid that collapsed on the ground made me want to die laughing inside.
 Several boys shared their snacks with me, including Pepero (like Pocky) and chocolate.  I shared what I had with others as well, including this guy here who is one of my students and is in charge of cleaning our English office everyday with his friend during cleaning time.

I like this kid a lot.
And then we took a bus to the actual top and had kimbap (Korean picnic roll like sushi... I picked the crab out) lunches that were prepared for us.  The monument there was established to commemorate the creation of the highway we sat alongside.  It has a turtle on the base so I love it.

But the best part?  Look at the wind turbine!

Gangwon-do actually has a lot of these guys across the hills and it is really very beautiful.  Reminds me of a certain computer background of a certain favorite professor of mine.

 Then we hiked back down which took a LOT less time...

After we took the buses back to the school, a bunch of the teachers went out to get dinner.  I was so stuffed from the kimbap that I could hardly eat any of the noodles I got.  I tried.

And then I headed home.  It was so great to have a day off of teaching even if it was a field trip and not actually a long weekend.  Several people have said to me that I seem so put together in these blogs, but for future travelers that plan to live abroad: I have been anything but put together.  I have cried almost every morning since I've been here because I'm homesick.  I cannot imagine how Thanksgiving and Christmas will tear me apart.

But I have pretty scenery when I cry:

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