Well, I can no longer cleverly say (in a whiny voice), "Winter is coming, you guuuuuys!" because holy moly, winter is HERE in Seoul. Before the changing of the seasons, though, I was able to enjoy the crisp air and colorful scenery Korea's mountains have to offer. In early October, Jaz invited me to hike Jirisan with her and a few friends. During late October and early November, I hiked Seoraksan twice (once with my girl Katy Wallace who was visiting from home [!!] and once with a big group of KPI folk) and Achasan once.

For our Jirisan hike, we actually left Seoul for Gurye on a Saturday afternoon. We had planned on catching the first bus out of the city, but since all the early morning tickets were sold out, we got to the mountain later than expected. Because of this, we basically had to run up the mountain to our overnight shelter.

Jirisan, Korea 2013

Here's Jaz, Marianne, and Barrie, my hiking buddies:

Jirisan, Korea 2013

Jirisan, Korea 2013

Jirisan, Korea 2013

Jirisan, Korea 2013

Jirisan, Korea 2013

Jirisan, Korea 2013

Seriously fifteen minutes before dusk, we made it to our overnight shelter. We were all so happy that we got to sleep on the mountain and get two full days of hiking in!

Jirisan, Korea 2013

Jirisan, Korea 2013

In the morning, we woke up early and hiked to Nogodan peak.

Jirisan, Korea 2013

Jirisan, Korea 2013

Jirisan, Korea 2013

Jirisan, Korea 2013

Jirisan, Korea 2013

Jirisan, Korea 2013

Jirisan, Korea 2013

Jirisan, Korea 2013

Out of all the recent hikes we completed, I believe that Jirisan was the hardest. With that being said, it was also the most rewarding. =] Click here to see all the photos from our Jirisan hike.

As for my Seoraksan trips this past month, they were also quite gratifying. The first trip, made with Katy, was just a day trip. We were able to squeeze in a somewhat short, simple hike to Geumgang Cave.

Seoraksan, October 2013

Seoraksan, October 2013

Seoraksan, October 2013

In the Korean hiking world, it's standard to enjoy a few glasses of makgeolli during your hike. As we hiked Jirisan, for example, older men and women generously shared their food and drinks with us whiteys almost all day. Knowing this, I wanted Katy to have this experience as well, but we didn't have such luck at Seoraksan! I mean, I basically forced these ajjushis to accept our offerings.

Seoraksan, October 2013

They offered us SPAM, and while I politely refused, Katy really took one for the team and ate that stuff.

Seoraksan, October 2013

Shortly after this forced break, Katy and I made it to the cave, which is hollowed into an extremely steep rock face.

Seoraksan, October 2013

Seoraksan, October 2013

Some views from the cave:

Seoraksan, October 2013

Seoraksan, October 2013

Seoraksan, October 2013

And on our walk down:

Seoraksan, October 2013

Seoraksan, October 2013

Overall, it was a successful and exhausting day trip!

Seoraksan, October 2013

Seoraksan, October 2013

Seoraksan, October 2013

Click here to view all our Seoraksan photos. I'll write about our KPI weekend Seoraksan trip later!

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