Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

Posts Tagged ‘hiking

Hiking tips for South Korea

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Some of the most enjoyable time we spent, during our month in South Korea was in some of the absolutely beautiful National Parks.  Not only were there some fantastic hiking trails, but invariably they were also a place to see some well preserved Korean temples.  Given that many of the mountains in South Korea are sacred, having a temple there dedicated to worshipping the mountain makes good sense.   It was a great way to get some cultural sightseeing done, while also enjoying Mother Nature’s wonderland.

South Korea surely must win the award for the most well maintained hiking trails in the world!   Wow.  We were sooo impressed!   But it kind of makes sense, when you see how wildly popular hiking is with the locals.  There are a LOT of people on the trails.

We weren’t the only ones on top of South Korea’s highest peak!

To help you out, here are a few tips which may assist in making the most of your hiking time in South Korea:

  • It is a bit difficulty to find details hiking info in English.  One place you can try is through the National Park site.
  • Whilst online information in English is a bit of a challenge, once you are at the trailheads, we (almost) always found signage in English.   So don’t worry!   (tip: take a photo with your phone of the map at the trailhead, as there is not often any other maps along the route, although there will be ample markers)
  • The trails are incredibly well maintained, and well signposted.  On steeper sections, the concept of switchbacks seems to be largely overlooked, but there are often steps put in.  Fantastic workout for the glutes and quads, that’s for sure!
  • Water is readily available on the trails (well, at least on all the trails we were on, and there were a few!).  Lots of the temples have water “fountains” which you can fill up at, as well.
  • Bring along some snacks to share.  South Koreans love to share some food at the top.  Sliced up apple, biscuits, chocolate or dried fruit are always a favourite.
  • Don’t be too put off by the level of difficulty of hikes.  We were originally quite intimidated by the hikers we saw coming down from trails, kitted out like they were ready for Everest!   Hiking poles, mountaineering boots, gaiters, quick dry from tip to tow, hats, the lot!   Then when we would actually get onto these incredibly well groomed trails, it was more than do-able.  But South Koreas take their hiking seriously, and need to look the part!
  • Per the above, we absolutely LOVED how colourful everyone is!  Because hiking is taken so seriously, even the casual day hiker has the full on gear.  We paled into insignificance with our drab greys, blacks and muted tones.  Bright yellow, pink, green and purple was definitely de rigueur, often worn all at once!
  • Some other blogs that have some good info on hikes can be found here and here.

Enjoy!

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Written by Mar(k)

July 31, 2017 at 6:35 pm

The Tour du Mont Blanc – by foot or by bike!

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Greetings readers!   We received this fabulous 17 minute video yesterday from our friends Sander and Jan, a pair of Belgian men who we met in mid 2013 whilst we were hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc in Europe.   At the time, we were completing this classic hike, whilst they were just about to embark on the same trail, on mountain bikes!  We do get quite a few requests from some of our armchair traveler readers to post more about some of our travels, so this one is for all of you.   We hope you enjoy it, and hope you can pick us out on the last frames.   Our enduring memory of these guys is the witty repartee we had with them over a shared meal in a “hobbit styled” hostel that we were at.   We hope you enjoy their awesome video!

The Tour du Mont Blanc.  One of the classic hiking trails in Europe.

The Tour du Mont Blanc. One of the classic hiking trails in Europe.

Written by Mar(k)

April 15, 2014 at 6:12 pm

The Thorsborne Trail – a hike of self-sufficiency!

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all packed up and ready to hit the ferry!

Jumping off the ferry at Ramsay Bay was exciting; my best mate Janet and I were off on yet another hiking adventure; the Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island in Far North Queensland.  Although only 32 km in length, the walk is truly spectacular and has some tricky bits.  Many (if not most) people take 3 nights, 4 days to walk it; as this is our annual “catch up”, we opted for 6 nights and 6 days of walking (which mostly translated into six days of talking, laughing and eating!).  One of the delights of overnight hiking is the feeling of self-sufficiency;  you are completely self-contained, and can take pride in knowing that you have carried your food, shelter and clothing along with you for the duration of your trek.  Our various body parts were crying in agony after day one, which is usual for a hike; the kinks in the body usually get ironed out after the first night or two, and then it feels great to put on the pack every morning.

Part of the excitement on this particular hike for us was the crocodile experience!  Being “Croc Aware” was something we had to be, as several of the designated camp sites had croc warning signs placed at the entrance to the campsite!   I must confess we spent a few sleepless nights, when every sound of leaves rustling (probably a bush rat nearby) had us imagining being in the jaws of a hungry prehistoric beast within seconds!

Water in abundance, and the view wasn't too bad, neither!

Water was in abundance of this trail, which was quite a difference for me, coming from Western Australia, where it is common to have to carry water over long distances.  Here we had fresh water available at each campsite, and enjoyed the views of a few waterfalls (Zoe and Mulligan Falls) along the way.

Mother Nature’s presence was palpable, as we could still see the aftermath of Cyclone Yasi.  The rangers did a fantastic job of opening up the track again in early July, after being closed for months.  But on the first few days of our walk along the beaches, evidence of the power of the storm was clear; large pieces of driftwood strewn across the beach, competing for space with plastics, and other large pieces of detritus.  Still – it was a fantastic walk and one that any serious hiker should add to their “must do” list.

Written by Mar(k)

August 10, 2011 at 9:35 pm