Hiking the Tallest Mountain in South Korea

기사승인 2021.07.01  10:32:17   조회수 3456

[Picture of Hallasan Mountain. Photo credit: Mi Young Park]

Since early 2020, we have been restricted from engaging in many activities. Some examples are going to school, watching a movie at the theater, and going shopping. On top of that, wearing masks has become normal and an essential part of our lives. Yet, this did not stop me from being active and doing what I love. After my previous article, in which I wrote about my cycling trip on Jeju Island, I decided to hike the tallest mountain in South Korea, Hallasan Mountain. 

[Picture of Hallasan Mountain trail overview. Photo credit: Mi Young Park]

To give a brief background of Hallasan Mountain, it is 9.6 kilometers tall with mostly grass and rocks. Also, volcanic activity formed the current mountain about 20,000 to 37,000 years ago, which explains how Baengnokdam, a volcanic cone on top of the mountain, was formed.

On Saturday, June 12, my family and I decided to hike Hallasan Mountain. As it takes about 10 hours to hike up and back down, we packed two bottles of water, energy bars, and hiking sticks. 

I started hiking up the mountain trails, which were full of rocks. Initially, it was not as hard as I had expected, and I was looking forward to reaching the top of the mountain. While I hiked, I listened to the birds chirping, deer eating grass, and water flowing down the mountain. I had never felt so relaxed and calm before, and it helped me think and reflect a lot. Yet, after about an hour of hiking, I was out of breath. My legs started hurting, and I had to take a rest when I was only one kilometer away from our starting point. I started to feel rushed and tired. Some people around me were giving up and turning back, but I did not stop. I kept going and tried not to take too many breaks. 

After a while, I noticed a map that informed me that I was halfway to the top. When I looked around, I saw sunlight coming through the trees which seemed to reenergize me. I took out my AirPods and searched for “workout music”. I was so focused on the music that I did not even notice that I was about six kilometers away from the starting point. The hiking was hard, of course, but the music helped me to be motivated. Also,  I really wanted to take off my mask, but I kept it on for my own and others’ safety.

[View of Baengnokdam. Photo credit: Mi Young Park]
[Picture of the writer on top of the mountain. Photo credit: Mi Young Park]

When I finally reached the top, I couldn’t help but say,  “Wow”. The first thing I noticed was the fog, which made me feel like I was surrounded by clouds. The sprinkles of water washed my sweat away, and I saw Baengnokdam. It was magnificent and hard to describe with words. While looking at it, I felt like I was in the sky, covered with mountains and clouds. Around it, there were plain grasslands with some deer and other animals. I never knew was such a beautiful sight in South Korea, and it was another experience that I will never forget. 

[View of the write with certificate. Photo credit: Mi Young Park]

When I went down, I was able to get a certificate that I had gone to the top of the mountain by hiking. I felt a sense of accomplishment that I was never able to feel. Hiking Hallasan mountain was a big challenge, yet I did not give up. At last, this trip made me realize that nothing is impossible if you take action and look for solutions. For example, when I was just about to give up hiking because I was too tired, I motivated myself again by wearing my AirPods to listen to music, which I was able to reach the top of the mountain. 

Amy Park
Grade 10
Seoul Foreign School

Amy Park

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