Friday, May 4, 2012

Bukhansan Walk Number Two

After I got my hair cut on Labor Day, I decided to enjoy the beautiful weather and go for another walk (not quite a hike) in Bukhansan National Park, which is within easy walking distance of my apartment.

Uijeongbu Howon-dong South Korea
Another view on my walk to work. Mountains make me happy.
Last time I went to Hoeryongsa; this time I chose another fork in the road and wandered to parts uncharted. I found some stairs on the side of the paved path and followed them up.

Bukhansan Hiking Path Uijeongbu

Bukhansan hiking path Uijeongbu

Much to my surprise, they led to a secluded, solitary grave site. I have no idea who's buried here. (Those fresh-looking flowers in the vases? Artificial.)

Bukhansan grave site Uijeongbu

It's an incredible view. I felt like I was the only person alive.

Bukhansan grave site hiking Uijeongbu
Surrounded by flowers, to boot.

This wasn't the hermitage, though. After I had a reading-and-snack break, I continued up the side of the mountain. 

Bukhansan hiking trail hermitage Uijeongbu

At this point it got buggy as hell. Gnats materialized out of nowhere to nag at me. No matter how many I killed, it seemed there were always four or five following me around. Someone driving a car down the path thought my futile attempts to swat the bugs away were me waving at him, and waved back.

It was a short walk—only half a kilometer—but it was steep, steeper than it looks like in this picture. But I persevered and made it to my destination!

Bukhansan hermitage Uijeongbu Buddhist temple

The hermitage is a lot more impressive than Hoeryongsa. I felt supremely awkward, though: every step I took on the gravel seemed to echo throughout the entire mountain. I was sure the monks were going to come out of their meditation to yell at me in Korean and chase me away.

It was so serene. Part of me would love to run away and join a Buddhist monastery. Buddhist nunnery? Why wouldn't you want to live here?

Bukhansan hermitage Uijeongbu Buddhist hiking

I explored the grounds a bit, debated going into the tiny little shrine room to meditate (but decided against, for fear of the angry Korean monks), and ultimately contented myself with sitting on a large rock and enjoying the quiet. Eventually I noticed that the sun was getting low and began the walk back to my apartment.

Day well spent.

1 comment:

  1. awesome (probably should write a longer comment about how beautiful it looks, but words fail me) thanks for the post