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Now fall is upon us and it is really the best time to be hiking.
In a series of hiking weekends Seoraksan is the first one.
The fall colors in Seoraksan really happens over weeks since its changing colors at the top while the bottom has yet to change. And depending on the weather pattern it occurs one week early or one week late. So its hard to know in advance. But in general you have a good chance to see some really beautiful nature if you go in mid-October.
There are two main hiking areas that is really the best of Seorak mountain.
One is called Chun Bul Dong Valley and it is known for its beautiful scenery up close. The other is called Dinosaur Ridge and here you are seeing the fall colors at the bottom of your feet as you climb large boulders and hiking along the 4-5 hour ridge of boulders and rocks.
To do the Dinosaur ridge you really need to be fit and have done hiking in Korea for awhile.
Now there are two ways to do Seorak Mountain. One is to do it all in one day. Another is to do it in two days by spending the night at the top.
We have tried hiking without much sleep (especially to Seorak since its less than a 3 hour ride and so you really cant get much sleep on the bus) and it saves time but man it is difficult to hike 10-14 hours straight with no sleep. Some super athletes can do it but not me!^^ And you are too tired to enjoy the scenery anyway.
So here is what I propose.
With the new tollway to gangwondo its now less than 3 hours to the base of Seoraksan where there is a motel. So we leave 9PM. (Sorry for those who work till late. Maybe there is some other way to accomodate. Like using public transport and taxi.)
We arrive midnight and check into motel. For those that want to save money I have a few tents I can bring. You can sleep in the parking lot.
(You also have the option of leaving early and heading up to the top to see sunrise. Since sunrise is something like 6:30AM you would have to start hiking something like 2AM or 2:30AM. It all depends on how the weather is.)
There is a natural hotspring bath house (8000 won and 6000 won if you stay in the motel) right next door if you like them. So we can get some shuteye and a nice quick bath before we head out.
The plan is:
8:30PM Depart Seoul
11PM Arrive Motel Parking Lot
Check in to motel. 4 to a room.
Let us know if you are a group. If you are a group of 3 you will have to be split up since I've had complaint when someone was added to a group of 3. Or find a 4th. Or pay 5,000 a person extra and stay in the room as 3. We will try to keep it boys and girls rooming but we may not be able to. If you prefer to be in girls only or boys only rooms please let us know.
If you cannot depart until later in the evening, there is a bus which can drop you off at the motel. Please let me know if you want to take the later bus and joinus later.
Arrive Dae Chung Bong (Highest Peak in Seoraksan)
At 1708 meters (5603 feet) Seoraksan is 3rd highest of the big 3. Jeju Halasan is 1950 meters (6397 feet) and Jirisan is 1915 meters.
The views from here can be spectacular if clouds dont get in the way.
Depart Dae Chung Bong
1:30PM Arrive So Cheong Bong Shelter (you dont want to be later than 2PM and probably if you are fast hiker you will arrive even sooner)
They charge 8000 per person here for the spot in the shelter. Its a first come first serve basis. Korean hikers usually do not come early and stay on the mountain all day. So if we arrive before 2PM we should be able to secure space for all of us. (If for some very remote reason you cannot secure a spot, there is Hui-Un-Gak Shelter less than 1hr away) Once you have secured your spot to sleep you are free to explore or relax.
I will bring Scrabble a deck of card and Korean cards. Please bring other games!^^
There are limited variety of food items you can buy. Ramen and water and packaged cooked rice is available as well as snacks. So you only need to carry as much water as you need to hike. I have a couple of portable burners so I can bring them. If you have cooking gear please let me know.
And the shelter is very warm so you may not need a blanket. A light blanket might be good to have.
8AM Start Hike to Hui-Un-Gak Shelter
9AM Arrive Hui Un Gak. Here you can decide to head down Chun Bul Dong Valley or go to Dinosaur Ridge.
4:00PM Depart Seorak Mountain
Stop at Sauna for a relaxing bath. If you prefer private showers 4 people can rent a room for similar price and use the shower facility there.
9PM Arrive Seoul
The "Basic Cost" of the trip will be 59,000 won.
Round Trip Chartered Bus
First Night at the Motel
There is a discount to the “Basic Cost” if you deposit early.
The “Basic Cost” is 49,000 won if deposit is made on or before 10/8.
The “Basic Cost” is 55,000 won if deposit is made on or before 10/12.
Deduct 10,000 won from the Basic Cost if you want to sleep in the parking lot with tent. I have several large and small tents.
If you bring your own tent, then deduct 15,000 won instead.
Things to bring:
1. Water and Snacks
3. Flash light (torch)
4. Change of Clothes
5. Warm clothes for overnight outdoors before sleeping.
You will want to prepare food for the following:
You can buy Korean Ramen and Water up at top so that would be one option.
Things that are light to carry would be:
Or something substantial would be Bul Go Gi pre cooked the night before. Take this in a nicely sealed container and when you are up there you can heat it up and eat it with rice and kimchi.
I am thinking of taking some tortillas and cheese and salsa. Salsa is a bit heavy to carry however so cant bring a lot.
You can leave your things on the bus so carry ONLY what you MUST for the mountain.
Maximum # of people to go is 45.