Seduced by Seoraksan, the Crown of Korea

Ulsan Bawi is a spectacular spine of stone. I woke up at 3 a.m. to reach this place for the sunrise. Though the sunrise itself was slightly underwhelming, the rock and view was fantastic, and the light was beautiful. I had also woken up that morning to a bad case of what I will refer to as "bibimbap explosion", which, I will not go any further detail other than saying that it made spending a long time up on this rock really difficult with no toilets in the vicinity. My hike back down was a fast, fast pace.

One of the most enchanting places I have been to, Seoraksan National Park is an impressive garden of jagged peaks and granite spines surrounded by forests and mountain streams. My experience in this place was one that I will always hold high on my list of great things I've done. Though it was not without its challenges, I mostly felt like I had died and gone to heaven. You see, I have a deep deep love of mountains and rocks, which is Seoraksan's specialty. As soon as I stepped off the No. 7 bus from Sokcho City, I knew we were meant to be together. I spent three days exploring this wondrous playground, and I would have stayed much longer had I ignored certain responsibilities. But life is long (hopefully), and I shall return someday for another dance with this magnificence.

It was the Chuseok Holiday while I was in Seoraksan. Chuseok is a harvest moon celebration and is compared to Thanksgiving in America. This photo was taken on Chuseok night's full moon, which also happened to be a super moon. I was lucky to have clear skies and a beautiful landscape.

Dragon Tooth Ridge - A panoramic stitch made with an 85mm lens and a D800 shot vertically. I wish I could upload the image at full resolution because the detail is awesome. There are people standing on top of a rock in the middle of the frame. I will be making a very large print of this.

Valley of the Twelve Buddhas


Daecheongbong Peak

I was very fortunate to meet Mr. Youn the day before the hike. Mr. Youn generously gave me his time and some excellent information about this hike. If I hadn't known that the shelters on this mountain sold bottles of water, I would have been carrying a lot of unnecessary liquid weight up this rather grueling hike. With an elevation of 1708m (5,604ft) Daecheongbong is the 3rd highest peak in Korea. The hike to the peak from Seorak-Dong is 11km (7mi) and a 1500m (5,000ft) vertical rise, which is a somewhat serious undertaking. I starting hiking at 3 a.m. and I lucked out with a beautiful day.

Even at the top of a long, strenuous hike, there were plenty of people enjoying the day.