Erin and I recently visited Woraksan National Park. It's 111 square miles of mountainous, heavily forested beauty, dotted with waterfalls, ruins, and Buddhist temples. And best of all, it's only about an hour away by bus. The trails run all the way to the mountain peaks, and offer spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. We did our research, figured out which bus to board, and were on our way. The ride out was an adventure in and of itself. In the city, Koreans have become accustomed to the occasional presence of westerners. We still get a funny look here or there, but nothing more. However, if you venture out into the sticks, away from the urban areas, you get a whole different reaction. For much of our journey, we shared the bus with a gaggle of ancient grannies, and I was literally the largest human being many of them had ever seen. The one sitting in front of me, all four feet of her, spent the whole trip speaking rapid fire Korean that I had no hope of understanding and smiling like she was having the time of her life.
Once we made it to the park, we found ourselves in the kind of rugged landscape that takes your breath away. Literally. Because you've been silly enough to try and climb up into it.