Here is the line to the bus to go to the beginning of the path. And J, Ben, Elaine and Dustin waiting for the bus.
And here is the bus.
I bet you've never seen one that full in Seattle! It's a fairly common occurrence here.
Notice how they are all wearing the same outfit. We made fun of them, until we realized that they were all a lot more prepared for the hike than we were.
We headed up to the hiking trail, along with the 10 million other people. The walk there involved multiple hiking apparel stores with very interesting signs
including this gigantic North Face backpack.
So, the 5 of us and the 12 million other residents of Seoul headed towards the mountain path:
We reached the path and enjoyed wonderful views of leaves.
we walked...slowly. Due to the traffic jams on the stairways.
About halfway up, we arrived at a parking lot with a terrifying mascot.
Then, we saw a wonderful, wooden statue:
And a small temple:
We weren't entirely sure which path was the one we wanted, so we decided to choose the shorter one and maybe climb the other path afterwards. Little did we know, the shorter path was also an almost vertical climb. Oops.
There wonderful fall leaves, steep, rocky stairs...
We made it to a little fortress.
Then, climbed up a little bit more. The climb involved going up this:
Which involved very few steps and ways to actually climb up the giant rocks. Unfortunately, I had my camera in my hand and didn't think to put it back in my backpack, which led to me yelling "I AM GOING TO FALL I NEED MY HANDS!!!!" very dramatically, which, in turn, led to a bunch of Korean men laughing at me hysterically. But I reached the top of the giant rock and saw this:
And all was ok. We took a bunch of pictures, of course, then continued our climb.
Ben taught us that the perfect way to smile in pictures is to pretend like you are biting an apple. As you can see, Elaine was making good use of that bit of info.
There were some stairs.
Once we made it to the top, we enjoyed the views, while feeling rather hungry and thirsty. We enjoyed the views, while everyone else enjoyed their full meals they had prepared and brought with them. Once again, even though they were all wearing the same outfit, they were much more prepared than we were.
One woman sensed our starvation plight and brought us a bunch of hard-boiled eggs and this amazing salt:
They were quite amazing and that salt was great. Unfortunately, she returned for the salt.
We then headed back down the mountain. I was lingering behind everyone on the way down, because I was taking pictures. I heard Ben say a bit ahead of me, "Let's wait for Lauren to make sure that she didn't fall and break her leg," which he claimed was due to inherent hiking rules that dictate no one is left behind. I know it is because in Korea, I have become the person who falls all over the place for no reason. In Myeongdong, I fell off a curb just after I'd watched Ben step off the curb. At Thanksgiving, I fell onto the curb, while walking next to it. Carrie said to me, "Watch your step" and I looked down to watch my step and I fell off the step anyway. And even tonight, everyone else noticed the giant sheet of ice on our walk home. Alas, I did not and slid onto my buttocks and bruised it. At least that time I fell because of something. How embarrassing. I blame the uneven sidewalks....
At the end of the trail, we heard a helicopter and everyone else did too:
I'm still not sure what happened there, but clearly someone fell off the rock I was clinging to on the way up.
I met up with my Korean classmates after our hike and we ate Samgyeopsal (pork) and chatted in Korean.
And here was the sunset outside my apartment: