Pigs’ Feet Hot Pot at an Old Tavern in Gurye

The province of Jeolla-do (전라도) is known as a mecca of Korean soul food and home to traditional namdo (southern provinces) fares. Many foodies around the country travel down to the southern region for good foods and history behind them. Our 3-day hiking trip in winter Jirisan ended near Gurye, a small town located at the southwest corner of Jirisan National Park. After only having quick meals in the snowy mountain for three days, I craved for a nice, warm, home-cooked style meal with some makgeoli.

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Winter Hiking in Jirisan and the Night at a Mountain Shelter

So far, this winter in Korea has been very generous to us. The weather was unusually warm this year with above average temperatures and only a few snowy days. Highly unlikely for this time of the year. But last weekend happened to be the days that the cold struck back and snow hit many parts of the country. So what better days than the coldest day of the year to hike the mountain 1,915m above sea level?

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Jirisan National Park(지리산 국립공원) is the first national park in South Korea which was established in 1967. It spans across the southern part of the peninsula from east to west over three different provinces. The highest peak is Cheonwang-bong(천왕봉) and it is almost 2,000m above the sea. The weather at such altitude is unpredictable especially in the middle of winter. For a leisure hiker like myself, a 3-day hiking trip in the winter mountains was definitely a challenge of lifetime. Continue reading

Gyeryongsan Winter Hiking

After a self-satisfying attempt at a winter hiking in Sutonggol, the hiking group’s next target was naturally the extension of our most recent achievement.  As I mentioned in previous post, Sutonggol Valley, although extremely convenient and popular hiking destination for locals, is a mere tip of a chain of peaks known as Gyeryongsan National Park.  The real deal lies farther away from the city’s boarder. The group rendezvoused early in the morning at Daejeon National Cemetery station and hopped on a busy 107 bus en route to Donghaksa loop.

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My Failed Attempt to Take Spring Photos at Gyejoksan Mountain

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At the base of Gyejoksan

The last Sunday of March was a perfect day to describe springtime in Korea.  The temperature was nice and warm (with a bit of fine dust in the air, of course) and the subtle breeze cooled off the heat from brightening sunlight.  With the weather being so wonderful, my instinct led me to gyejok-san (계족산: Gyejok Mountain) located at the outskirts of Daedeok-gu, Daejeon.  I got on the bus with hopes of facing a beautiful scenery filled with spring flowers and sprouts but unfortunately most of the mountain was still dark and grey with very little traces of colorfulness.

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