As someone who has not gone to the gym since my sophomore year P.E, exercising is not something I tend to do in my free time. But after feeling my bones stiffen during months of quarantine, I decided that it was time to go hiking to become fit again. Taking advantage of the time I had during the national holiday week for Chuseok, I went hiking to Cheonggye-san, or so-called Cheonggye Mountain, with my family. While hiking, I was impressed not only by the amazing view but also bythe safety and cleanliness of the mountain in these unprecedented times.
Cheonggye Mountain spans several areas in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province, from Gwacheon and Seongnam to Seocho district. Since I haven’t done any exercise in a long time, we decided to roam around the hiking trail parts closer to the mountain entrance in Yangjae-dong of Seoul. As we climbed up the mountain, I noticed several places for hikers to stop and rest. Many people took breaks at thesestops to eat kimbap – a classic Korean snack that is popular when going hiking or on a trip – and drink water. The greenery, myriad of trees and streams scattered near the mountain were a breath of fresh air compared to Seoul’s pollution-infested areas, such as Gangnam.
|[A photo of a banner near the mountain entrance with COVID-19 guidelines for hikers.
Photo courtesy of Rachel Lee]
I was particularly impressed by how well all the hikers adhered to social distancing and COVID-19 guidelines that the government had issued. Before I arrived at the mountain, I feared that people would take their masks off mid-hike since lots of people tend to get sweaty after exercising. To my relief, people were extra careful about keeping their face masks on; even at the rest stops, where people had to take their face masks off to eat lunch, everyone made sure to keep a distance of at least two meters away from each other to maintain social distancing.
|[A photo of a banner asking visitors to take their own trash after hiking.
Photo courtesy of Rachel Lee]
In addition, I was also impressed by Cheonggye Mountain’s efforts to ensure that the site stayed clean despite the large numbers of visitors. There were banners all around the hiking trails asking visitors to take their trash with them and to restrain from washing their hiking shoes in the streams. The Cheonggye Mountain administrators offered alternatives such as air blowing stations that had the machinery to clean dust and mud off the hikers’ shoes. As a result, I noticed that there were barely any trash or litter scattered around the mountain.
All in all, I would recommend you visit Cheonggye Mountain this fall. Due to the current pandemic, many people are cautious to go outside to exercise. But at Cheonggye Mountain, you will feel safe as you will be hiking in an outdoor site. While exercising, you can also enjoy the beautiful scenery and clean environment as you hike up the mountain’s trail.
Seoul International School
Rachel Lee firstname.lastname@example.org