The one perk of being injured, (update, hoping to lightly run this Friday and get back into training next week), was that I had a free opening just as the fall colours were starting to come through in the national parks.

A plan to head for a stroll one of the days quickly developed into a weekend camping trip up in Woraksan national park with my friend Lynn. It was supposed to be a beautiful weekend and is still just warm enough in the evenings to camp high up with minimal equipment. By camping overnight it meant that we could have a relaxed start and end time and only walk a few hours each day. I didn’t want to push myself, so a nice relaxing route that focussed on the views rather than pounding through the kilometres.

I had a chill morning and so after a few hours on buses to get to the start of the hike it was already 4pm and we had a couple of hours of daylight left to reach the ridgeline. Camping in national parks in Korea is technically illegal, but I think that is more to stop masses doing it, than something they actually prevent. Considering that we walked past the park rangers on our way up and they just gave us a casual hello, it can’t be that big a deal, or maybe it’s just because we’re foreigners.

We got up onto the ridgeline just as the sun was starting to set and had some stunning views out over the valley. We searched around for a camp spot, wanting to be set up before it got dark and chilly. The ridgeline was very vertical though, with very few spots that we could set up in. I found a tiny patch just off the side of the trail, we weren’t exactly sure that the tent would fit on it, but it just about did.

Our tent on the cliffside

As the sun set, Lynn went about setting up our stove equipment for dinner, only to pause halfway through and proclaim that along with her headlamp batteries she’d also forgotten to bring the gas for the stove. So there’d be no hot dinner for us. I was less than impressed, but luckily we did have quite a bit of cold food, and just had to warm our insides with the Fireball Whisky.

I didn’t sleep great that night, I’d not brought a mat and the ground was a bit firm especially with my leg, so it was a restless night. I was firmly awake as the sky started to brighten and opened up the flaps at the back of the tent. The views out across the skyline as the sun started to push above misty clouds was incredible. It was easily the best view I’ve had from a tent. I stayed snuggled up inside my sleeping bag, as the sun rose, sipping some, cold, coffee. Almost a perfect morning.

5 star morning views

Our Sunday walk started with the ridgeline up to get us across to the steep little climb up to the summit, including some precarious looking stairs. The top was super windy and after some obligatory photos and a tangerine we started on the route back down. A nice little loop that dropped us down the side of the mountain back into the valley.

Heading to the peak

We passed quite a few groups coming up, lots of shocked faces from seeing people descending and some shouts of ‘great time!’ Little did they know..

I got back to home nice and early, so plenty of time to relax with Netflix and a sauna session.

This week at work is super easy, a mixture of speaking tests and a fun Halloween lesson, so it’s breezing by. Bring on the next weekend.