Monday, August 22, 2011

Early Saturday Morning Hike along Mangusan, Yongmasan, and Achasan

Our children rode the rails to Daegu this weekend, leaving on a four-day retreat with relatives there, so my wife and I had a minor vacation and took advantage by rising early Saturday for a six a.m. breakfast before heading off around seven for an indistinctly three-mountain hike on a foggy, overcast morning on a high path past several medieval fortresses, or what's left of them, that once held the line between the Kingdom of Goguryeo and the Kingdom of Baekje . . . and I have to apologize for the photos below, for my wife does not appear, though due not to my narcissim but to her reticence.

Fortunately, I don't appear in every photograph in our hike along Mangusan (281 meters), Yongmasan (348 meters), and Achasan (287 meters), also called Mt. Mangu, Mt. Yongma, and Mt. Acha ("san" meaning "mountain"):

Those steps appear to be going down, but that's an optical illusion, for we had just come up and were recovering on a landing depicted by the next photo:

You see my unphotogenic self in this photo above as I cast a searching glance into the distance, imagining myself a watchman on a fortress outlook for the Kingdom of Goguryeo, intent on protecting the frontier against the rival Kingdom of Baekje, or perhaps contemplating an invasion to conquer that rival. But the next photograph illustrates the futility of my gaze:

As we see, there's a very foggy valley, the heavy haze -- or is it smog? -- obscuring our view, but we'll soon be descending a bit into that as we hike on along the mountain path between the 'peaks' of Yongmasan and Achasan:

Steps . . . and more steps:

Again, I appear -- this time perhaps on Achasan, though I'm not sure -- gazing once more into the foggy distance with a wise, discerning eye, as intimated by my stretched turtle neck, turtles being profoundly wise creatures:

I reckon I look pretty healthy for an old turtle. I just don't look very 'pretty'. At least, I don't look ugly, either. I'm in the middle: "pretty ugly."

Yet another photo of me, this time on the descent from Achasan, searching for sight of the annoying cicadas that infested the trees above. I've been told these critters come out every seventeen years or so, but they seem to me to crawl out of the ground and ascend the trees every freakin' year! Or maybe time just really does fly:

We now reach the end of our trek, at the very spot where most folks begin, the entrance, with its decoy stork:

And its decoy deer:

Afterwards, we wended our way down the hillside toward the nearest subway station, Achasan (Line 5), stopping for a lunch of blood soup for me and a variant on pork-bone soup for my wife.

A few beers were also imbibed . . .

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