Friday 27th September
We were lucky enough to get into the country side to Jeonju and Jirisan, both south of Seoul. We had already noticed large outdoor clothing stores and during this trip we understood why.
Near Jeonju there were dozens of buses with hundreds of people, mostly women. These women had been walking and they were seriously fitted out with pants and tops, walking shoes and sticks, backpacks and sometimes music. And they were walking and talking. Seriously walking. Seriously talking.
We spent the night in a condominium hotel in the Jirisan National Park and woke to mountain views.
And again, in the Jirisan National Park we passed many walkers. Some were doing overnight treks and others were on a day outing. Once again, seriously geared up.
We also saw groups of school children, mostly at elementary (primary) level. Walking.
They looked so fit and nimble, putting our doggy walking group to shame.
Our guide Yoon, once again was a vassal of information. The tour with us was covering new ground for him but he was not a shy person. In fact he spoke to anyone and everyone, coming back to us with more snippets of information.
The parks are very special in Korea and management of them is taken seriously. Areas are closed off in long cycles, perhaps two years or more, for regeneration. Popular locations are open for limited hours. Information points show before and after planting and regeneration. Rubbish bins and litter are both non-existent.
Our walk in the southern part of Jirisan National Park was from the Sekngsamjae car park to the ridge called Nogodan gogae. There were multiple paths from the comfortable trail with fantastic lookouts which we climbed, to the precarious stone steps which we descended on.
The area we walked, about 7 km all in, is just a very small part of the entire Jirisan trail.
I certainly came away impressed by Korean’s love of nature (but not snakes and spiders), and their respect for the environment.
As we were leaving Jirisan National Park, we came across a pretty area of farmland, and also got to see Kimchi (fermented vegetables and fish) being made.