Sunday, May 2, 2010

Jiri Mountain

Just a little reminder, Gurye is located at the base of Jiri Mountain, the tallest mountain on the mainland. I've been living here for going on 9 months now and have yet to hike the sucker.

So, my friend Rob and I set out to hike it this past Saturday. There's a 45km / 3 day trail. Yeah. We're not ready for that. So we choose to hike from Hwaeomsa Temple (the very beginning of the trail...about 5 miles from my house) to Nogodan Shelter. A 5.7km/2.5 hour route. Much better, right? Anyways, there are a lot of different trails from Nogodan, so there's actually a bus up there. Our plan was to hike up and bus down.

The start of the trail (nice sidewalk!)

What about 4km of the trail looked like. Boulders. Lots and lots of boulders. Oh yeah, and very poor trail markings. Good thing I was there, or else Rob would have gotten lost at least 5 times.

The river that runs along the trail is straight from the top of the mountain. And since snow is melting, the river was moving pretty fast. A really cool thing: you could drink straight from the river. That's how fresh it is.

It would be a complete lie if I said the course was easy. It was anything but. It was quite steep and the path was very boulder-y. I felt like we were scampering up the mountain rather than hiking it. There was a point where Rob and I sat down after a particularly strenuous stretch of boulder. Neither of us said it, but we both were beginning to doubt our ability to finish the climb. But, we dragged ourselves up and started walking. It was a very bleak time.


We saw the top! It was 10 meters away (around a bend) from our "doubt" rock! Thank goodness...

From the top
yeah, we're not going back down the way we came. We would die.

There was often a small stream running down the path, making the boulders real slippery. Going up is okay, but going down is very dangerous.

There was snow up there, despite being 75-degrees in Gurye

The view! (Not Gurye... Gurye is on the other side)

Another View

Yay! We made it!

Facts for the curious: Gurye is at 115m elevation. Nogodan is 1,507m. The highest peak is just over 1,900 meters. So, yeah. Our portion of the hike was quite steep.

So, that was my Saturday (and became my Sunday, as my legs were pooped). It was fun!

Next Saturday, May 8-May 13 I will be traveling to Cebu, Philippines with another English teacher at my school, Mee-young. The trip was kind of last minute, so it still hasn't really sunk in yet. :) Yet another country stamped into the pages of my already weathered passport.


  1. Congratulations on the climb. Reminded me of our Sedona hike last June. :0)

  2. Kudos for both of you for finishing the climb. Hearing of 지리산 reminds me of the geography classes in high school. I don't remember what we actually learned about the mountain, though. I like the name of the mountain. Actually don't you think the rivers and the mountains have the most dignified and interesting names? I mean not just in Korea but everywhere. Enjoy the trip to the Philippines.