Monday, May 24, 2010

A Walk in the Backyard

You may recall from the picture I posted of the mountain range behind my apartment. My neighborhood, Dowon-dong, lies on the southwestern outskirts of Daegu. Beyond, you'll only find peaceful mountains and farmed countryside.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, a leisurely stroll up the mountain trail turned into a 4.5 hour hike over the entire range to the neighboring district on the other side. It sounds like a haul, but I saw loads of grandpas and grandmas out there. It's the diet of kimchi and daily/weekly hikes that has Koreans healthy as ever.

Thinking there would be some worthy landscapes I brought my camera along. I sure am glad I did.
This is one of the first views on the mountain nearest my apartment. It only takes about 20 or so minutes to get from my door to here. You can pretty much see all of Daegu. Figuring prominently are the high rises, all of which are apartments. 99% of Koreans live in high rises that are 20+ stories. That stat was not at all factually based, but it seems to be the case. My students often ask about my home in America, and are both shocked and full of envy to hear that I live in a house with two stories that is physically separate from my neighbors and that there is a yard with grass and trees.
If you imagine the mountain range as a big "U," I'm near the middle of the bottom here.
Cheong-ryong-san, 2.5km; Ap-san, 8km; Yong-yeong-sa, 3.7km; Bee-seul-san, 9km; Sam-peel-bong, 1.6km.
This being Korea, you would find an arrow drawn in the dirt leading you down the correct path away from the false side path. Splendid.
The nearest mountain range on the other side is where a came from. I've now made it to the right side of the lower part of the "U."
A look back at where I came from.
I soon made it to the summit of Ap-san, the highest peak in the area at over 700 meters. A Korean family I met took the picture for me.
A look back at where I came from, and a landscape that you can pretty much find Korea-wide.
Here, you can see the reservoir at the base of the range. I basically started from where the base of the mountain meets the water on the far side. It looks way far away, and it was.
Hazy mountain tops.
I slowly made my way down from Apsan hoping I wouldn't end up in a town outside of Daegu. One wrong path could have taken me there, but I was careful to stay oriented. Near the bottom of Ap-san, I came to a much needed spring water station. Wow, was it refreshing.
I had a nice chuckle soon after compliments of the distressed drowning boy illustration. It's troubling how disproportional his right eyebrow is. Really.

"Su-yeong-geum-jee." From context, we can guess it means "NO SWIMMING." See, Korean isn't that hard, is it?