on the other side of the world….
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“Odaesucks” a tale of misadventure…

Last weekend, Kate and I decided to go hiking. We talked about it earlier in the week and decided to go back to Hwanson-gul (the massive cave about an hour from our city) to hike the mountain trail that we saw leading from the paved path up to the caves. The leaves are changing now and it’s a great time to do the hike before it gets too cold. Friday night we were out with a friend, Mark, who suggested that we join Ben and him to go to Odaesan instead. We thought, why not – it’s a bigger park with more hiking and more adventures to be had with more people. Little did we know… :)

We all decided to get an earlier than normal start because had an hour and half bus ride and wanted to get some good hiking in so we all met at the bus terminal at 9am. None of us had a clue how to get to odaesan (bad idea #1) so we called 1330, the local tourism phone line which usually has an English speaker, to find out which buses to take. We got the advice, and tried to get tickets but the ticket lady had different ideas on how to get there and after some time got the tickets we needed (we hoped) and hopped on the bus which arrive a half hour later. Usually buses cost about 2-4,000 won- – not much and is dependant on the destination/frequency/and distance. It should have tipped us off that the tickets were 9,000 won each. We sat on the bus to Jin-bu, half unaware and half asleep, wondering where we were being taken. Eventually we saw Gangneun – the other big coastal city about an hour north of Samcheok. We then learned that we had merely bypassed getting off the bus and transferring by getting the more expensive, less frequent trip. So, 10 minutes later with a new set of passengers we took off again, expecting to arrive in Jinbu in about 30-40 minutes. An hour later we finally arrive at a dark and cold bus station. Most are this way, but it ads to the dramatic effect of the story. There, we learn that we need to take another bus to Odaesan and we had just missed the once hourly trip by about 5 minutes. Perturbed the longer than anticipated trip, cost of the tickets, lack of adequate breakfast, and an increasingly frustrating trip we decided to just take a taxi and deal with the extra cost. 10,000 won later we arrived in the park.
Here’s where the story gets even more exciting.
We arrived to a busy temple at the base of the mountains with beautiful statues and perfectly restored buildings.
After trying to avoid getting in the way of peoples pictures, and taking a few of our own, we left and went down the path that we thought would lead us to the trails and other areas of the park. This ended up not being the right path so we headed back up to the temple and out the other side to see if we could find our way to something that resembled a hike.

Passing the Temple, we found only a road, with backed up traffic on it’s way up the mountain. After talking (with motions) to a passerby we were told to start walking up the road to find the hiking.
We walked… and walked.. and walked.. and finally found a sign that said 6.2 km to the next temple (where the trails are). We decided we didn’t have time or patience to hike up the road to get there so we headed back via a small trail we saw on the other side of the stream parallel the road.
Finally something more like hiking. (then it started to sprinkle, of course…)
I snapped a few shots of the beautiful mountains and changing colors.
Mark wanted a new zen photo for his facebook :)
We walked back down the trail and then the road again when the trail ended to the temple where we started. We walked back to the parking lot area and asked the information lady, who spoke English pretty well, where to get the bus. She directed us to the bus stop. Once there, we realized.. to our dismay, that she was directing us to the bus UP the mountain.. to the top temple where all the trails start. What would have saved us an hour and a half of walking, and enabled us to do some hiking. Slightly bitter, but mostly amused at our ineptitude we had her call a taxi for us to get back to Jinbu… we didn’t have any more patience to wait the hour before the next bus back. We finally got home and had a nice night of movies and food at Eve and David’s apartment. A nice end to a frustrating day.

We ended up spending over 55,000 won for 5 hours on a bus and few hours of walking on a road. Oh well.. You win some, you lose some, and considering this was the first legitimately unsuccessful trip we’ve had while being here – we can’t complain too much. :) And we laughed a lot at ourselves – so all is well….

Well, Kate has fallen asleep reading her book, and I’m up way past my bedtime, so I must go… Enjoy this last weekend of unrelenting political ads –it’ll be a year and half before you see them again — I’m sure you’ll miss them.



1 memyselfandhai { 11.02.08 at 3:21 pm }

Sorry that my neck of the woods gave you guys so much trouble. I’ve been having pretty bad luck in Jinbu as well if it makes you feel any better. lol

2 Michael Levy { 11.03.08 at 8:22 pm }

That’s funny… we had terrible, awful luck with Odaesan too. We tried to get in the east side, spent four hours on buses and three hours waiting to hike on a trail with Koreans 2 per meter. Looks pretty though, at least you got some good photos.

Enjoy tomorrow buddy.

3 Melanie { 11.04.08 at 12:47 am }

Wow you guys! I just saw your post and Michael’s comment. All I can say is we feel your pain. We went last Sat. and found out that the buses were nuts and expensive and the park was soooooooo crowded! Then once we started hiking there were gale force winds and rain.
Oh Odaesan…