I climbed a mountain! I should specify that for a mere 7,000 Won there was a cable car that went about half way up the mountain, but it still left us with about a mile of steep, rocky terrain to climb to get to the peak of Mount Naejangsan. So, for the purposes of this blog, I climbed a fricken mountain.
Climbing a mountain is a mental challenge. It’s also a challenge for every other part of your body, and I don’t plan on taking it up for recreation anytime soon. Behind us people turned around, giving up the ghost in a huff of “Fuck this,” and proceeded back down the mountain side. That little voice in the back of my mind told me to join them, as did my racing pulse, burning thighs and the big bruise on my posterior from a foothold that gave way.
But one only gets so many chances to see the peak of one of South Korea’s most beautiful and visited mountains – so I pushed through, took lots of breaks, fell once or twice more and in the end made it to the top. And it was, indeed, worth it.
When we reached the summit, I reached for my knitting.
We also stopped at the very underrated Guemsansa Temple, a still functioning monastery that houses the largest standing Buddha in the Orient. The temple grounds filled with the voices of the monks, and otherwise a calming silence while people filed in and out of the temples to worship and observe.