May Trips – Gwanaksan 관악산

I always love the nature, so ever since I have been in Seoul, I have been bugging my friends to bring me up the mountains.

Haha so, me, since I am staying around Seoul University 서울 대학교 SorUl DaeHakGyo, my friend and I decided to conquer the summit of the GwanAk Mountain 관악산 GwanAkSan, just 10mins drive away from where I am staying. And… since we are going to do that, and non of us want to face the scorching sun (of course nothing compare to Singapore’s sun. lol), we decided to instead of hiking up early, early, early in the morning, we have decide to, well…. just make it even earlier then! Hike up in the TWILLIGHT and catch the SUNRISE 일출 IlChul! Haha! Sunrise 일출 IlChul in Seoul, is unlike Singapore’s timing of 7.15am, but at the time of 5.10am each day!!!
The sky actually starts to lighten up each day from around 4.30am onwards.. Given that it takes 1.30hr to get to the summit by the shortest route (steepest!), and that it will be all our virgin experience climbing it… We calculated that we will have to embark our journey by the latest timing of 3….. AM in the 아침 AhChim morning …. more of in the twilight… in the Middle of the 밤 Bam Night!! to be able to reach the summit on time for sunrise 일출 IlChul

Haha So one night 하룻밤 HaRukBam, after 후에 HuYe some Soju 소주… we took the cab to Seoul University 서울 대학교 SorUl DaeHakGyo.. for our little adventure!

Though we kind of expected it to be dark, we never did expect it to be almost pitch black. This was how the campus look like when we arrived. (It was still lit in school but was the trail starts it was pitch black)

The bottom of the ascent start near the highest point of the school. The map was not that obvious where we alighted and we alighted only realising than, how ill-prepared we were. We dropped off without much remaining battery in our communication devices (handphones), without a torchlight, nor even a map. I wasn’t usually one who goes to places ill-ly prepared, but because I was with a local who have made all preparation ready, I’ve decided that I could trust him. But.. With all the creaky, screechy, insects echoing around without a map and any lights in the midst of all the trees, mmm it almost made me think that I dropped myself off at the scene of the Hunger Games with no hint but to survive on what we have. Quite a change of environment indeed. Specially when the trail we randomly followed leads us to a dead end with a temple at the side of the road. A temple lit by the moonlight, with candles and lamps around, bells around and sheds at the side. Deciding that, though it doesn’t feel somewhat right to be lost and tumble across a temple, it must still be a safer choice to remain there while finding our directions instead of wandering around in the dark.
We were poking our way around, thinking that cutting through the temple must be the correct way, when the monk suddenly came out of the shadows. Like in the movie isn’t it? He directed us to climb through the trees..??? Hahah but anyway. Though creepy, it feels good to spot another person 사람 SaRam around, beside 옆에 YorpYe us 우리 URi. Doesn’t feel that lost in the woods. Still using the remaining 5% of the batt of the phone (which went dead so quickly because 내가 친국 use it on everything, from using it as a torchlight, to map and navigator and calls….), we manage to found a proper map at last!

Screen-Shot-2014-06-19-at-4.06.20We were on the red tracks initially until we manage to locate this map from the Korea Search Engine Naver. We were completely off-course! Until we reach the Orange cross, where I have marked on the map, there were no actual signage. It was where the Orange cross is it, where it is where the actual start of the track up GwanAk Mountain 관악산 GwanAkSan is. Before that, it was all considered part of the Seoul University 서울 대확교 SorUl DaeHakGyo (the light grey coloured area). 

From there onwards, it is hard to get lost if one follow the sign 연주대 YeonJuDae (summit).
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It was 4.15am by the time we were on the right track. With only just 1 hour left to Sunrise, and a 1 hour journey up, we don’t have any time left to spare. We literally kind of brisk-walked and ran up the mountain 산 San. Thus, I didn’t manage to take much photos until we reach the summit. However, it was also barely visible at that point of time. I was putting my entire concentration on trying to see (I have already finished my Lesik by then, but it still take a month or so to recover it’s full sight gradually), trying to breathe and not to trip, slip and die with my shoes not meant for tracking. Trust me people, don’t ever try climbing a mountain with a sport shoe, it is really not funny at all, more of a live or die situation it ends up. However, what to do, I was already there.
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The Slope and journey just go vertically straight up and the road are all stones, evenly carefully paved stones You wish! All threatening to twist and sprain your ankle leaving you stranded there yes! With the double/triple amount of effort I was putting in, I almost ended up fainting. I have difficulty breathing with my Sport Asthma. It occurs whenever I am doing too high intensity workout. Still, just don’t follow in my footstep, though I did managed to reach the Summit by Sunrise 일출 IlChul.

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Though 15 mins late, the view was still magnificent.

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Some of the gorgeous photo 사진 SaJin from above!
Sometimes I do feel like I have been through adventures enough to last for lifetimes, to publish books and dramas. The amount of craziness and near “death” experience haha (just exaggerating!) but the view do make you feel like everything is worth the effort doesn’t it?
The feeling of just you alone 혼자 HonJa on the peak 산정상 SanJorngSang, just facing the skies 하늘 HaNeul and the slumber land below you, with the awaking sun slowly rising to warm you from the gushes of wild wind that can only be found in this free endless, unlimited space, where only peaks of the other summits 산정상 SanJorngSang join you in the beautiful backdrop as far as your eyes can stretch.
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Breathless isn’t it? Which is worth being breathless for. Though I somewhat felt like dying, at the same time, I have never felt more alive before.

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It was at the same point of time when the rain clouds decided to keep the mountains veil. The rain came chasing, not from the top of the heaven as it always have been, but from all directions as we are in the very cloud itself. It was one hour down to the ground and it was impossible to not kill myself going down the rocks when I ve already almost killed myself climbing up.

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We race down the down side of the mountain with the 산 San 山 itself sheltering us from the rage of the storm; to the temple 연주암!

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At 7am, the sight do look like one from a ancient movie scene.

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A simple vegetarian meal!

It was freezing cold at that point of time, with the wind, and the rain, with the morning mist. The kind people of the 연주암 YeongJuAm Temple, looked at us freezing by the temple 절 Jorl step, actually came and offer us breakfast! That simple meal really warm the heart.

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In the future 미래 MiRae, if I am to climb a Mountain again, track shoes is like a live or die essential, a Map 지도 JiDo would be lovely in case the Smart phone 전화 JornHwa decide to play dead or go stupid, and mmm perhaps some strong hunks for company would be good in case of being stranded too. hahaha joking on the last one! but really climbing in the dark without a torchlight?! In a really slippery gym shoe?! I must be insanely mad.

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Maybe I was.

Because… Catch the next Climb on the even higher mountain the Highest in South Korea, the Halla Mountain 한라산 HallaSan, in the same slippery gym shoe. I was perhaps… just doing my best in Living excitingly.

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