Autumn is one of the best seasons to head out to the coast since not only is the weather cooler but the days are also getting shorter, which means more spectacular sunsets for Taean. When I go hiking, I tend to head out early in the morning and come back early in the afternoon. However, I wanted to see the sunset at Kkotji, therefore the girlfriend, a friend and I headed took the 13:10 bus from Taean bus terminal to Baeksajang. From there we started our 11.7KM hike towards to Kkotji. 3 hours and 20 minutes later, we arrived at Kkotji with the sun slowly making its way down towards the horizon. Since we missed the last bus leaving from Kkotji to Taean (which left at 17:20), we walked our way towards Anmyeong bus terminal and took the bus back into town.
Palbongsan, which translated into eight peaks mountain, sits at the border of Taean and Seosan. Like the name, the mountain consists of eight peaks, with the 3rd peak being the highest at 362 meters. There are two areas where one can start the hike up; one in the north and one in the south. Today, my girlfriend, my friend Kevin and I took the local bus from downtown Seosan and started our hike from the south side of the mountain. It took us around 20 minutes before our trail turned into a small dirt path. From there we literally had to climb rocks at some places before we reached our first peak which was the 8th peak. We slowly made our way to the 3rd peak and then after a quick rest, we made our way down. I have to say this mountain was one of the harder ones to climb since there was a lot loose dirt along the trail which made it quite slippery.
Today, my friends and I went to tackle course 5 of Haebyeongil, which starts at the fishing port of Baeksajang and ends at the scenic beach of Kkotji. This section of trail, which takes around 4 hours to complete. runs through one of the most scenic coastlines in Taean. Some areas of the coastline only reveal themselves during low tide and we were lucky enough to see it. This section of trail is also significant due to the fact that after this section of trail, I can proudly say that I have completed all 100 kilometers and seven sections of Haebyeongil. Now all I have to do is do it all over again.
During the beginning of this week, I've been planning on tackling one of the last two courses of Haebyeongil. It is course number 5, which stretches from Mongsanpo to Baeksajang. According to my weather app. it appeared that Saturday was going to be a clear day with a scattered clouds which was perfect for trekking. Taking the 0650 bus heading to Namyeon, Dylan, Kevin and I headed off. After around a 20 minute bus ride, we arrived at our starting point; Mongsanpo Beach. The trail starts off along the boardwalk and then heads into the woodlands. From there on, we also passed through rice paddies, a weland and a salt farm. Unlike the other sections of Haebyeongil, this section was relatively level which made it easier on our feet. After 4 hours of walking, we arrived at the strait which separated the peninsula of Taean from the island of Anmyeondo.
The first question you might ask is that "why the hell is this trail so damn long?" Well, in fact, it is actually two trails which I decided to do in one go. The reason behind this is because Hwangpo-hang, which is the meeting point of the two trails, is a small fishing village with less than ten buildings and the buses come every two hours, making going back to Anmyeon Bus terminal a pain. My adventure started at 0630 when I took the express bus to Anmyeong Bus terminal. From there I took the 0750 bus to Yeongmok and started making my way up the coastline. There were a few woodlands, beaches and wetlands that I passed through along the way. In total, it took a good 5 hours and 16 minutes for me to finish the 29KM trek. Although the views were spectacular, the consequence of walking 5 hours straight was that my feet were swollen. The last kilometer to the bus stop felt like a life time with my feet in agony. If you would like to tackle this fabulous stretch from Yeongmok to Kkotji or vice versa, do bring a lot of water and something to eat. There aren't that many corner stores on this section of Haebyeongil. Enough chit chat. Please enjoy the photos!
Since Kevin and I are early risers, we decided to wake up real early (I woke up at 4am) and start our hike at 5am towards the foot of Baekhwasan in town. I estimated that by the time we arrived at the peak we would be able to see the sunrise. Well things didn't go as planned. Once we reached the top, the skies were cloudy but it created a really nice calming atmosphere since it gave the surrounding landscape a shade of blue. Setting up my camera and my tripod, I started shooting away. Here are the results from early this morning.
The weather this week hasn't been the best and fearing that the rain might destroy the last of the remaining cherry blossoms, David, Dylan and I decided to visit one four major temples in Chungcheongnam-do, Gaesimsa (개심사) located in Haemi Eup, Seosan City. The original site was founded in the Baekjae Dynasty but was destroyed in a forest fire in 1475 and rebuilt in 1478, which are the buildings that currently standing today. We took the 522 bus which left Seosan Bus Terminal at 09:15 and it dropped us off at the foot of the temple around 35 minutes later. Lanterns were up along the trail as well as around the temple in preparation of Buddha's birthday. There was a prayer session going on at the temple, hence the lack of photos of the buildings. Seeing that there were more and more people coming to the temple to see the cherry blossoms, we decided that we did enough exploring around the area and started to head down to the main road. Along the way there were was a lane lined up with cherry blossoms trees in full bloom. Since most of the tourists headed directly to the temple, it was a wonderful opportunity to take photos knowing that a random ajuma won't walk through your photo. Once we were finished, we continued our way along the trail which followed an agricultural reservoir. Although it was a bit foggy, the light was soft and the scenes around us looked like as if they were paintings. We're defiantly coming back to visit the temple and the trail later on once the area is green again. If you happen to be in Seosan during the weekend, this place is one of the city's best kept secrets that you should explore.
A few weeks ago when I making my way down for the top of Baekhwasan, I noticed this clearing which I though to myself would be a great place to get another photo of the sunset. Noticing the weather might be suitable today, I headed up to that spot after work and patiently waited for the sun to set. Once I started taking photos, things didn't go as planned since the sun disappeared under the hazy skyline just before it dipped under the mountains. At least I got a shot which I'm happy with and here it is.
Seeing that the weather was going to the lovely on Sunday, Kevin and I decided to tackle the stretch of Haebyeongil which started at the Hakampo and ended at Shinduri. Know as Pala Gil (바라길), it connects to the Sowon Gil (소원길) at Shinduri. We took the first bus left for Hakampo and 09:30 and half an hour later, we were at our starting point. We started by exploring the harbour and then made our way to the beach. The tide was low enough today that we were able to walk to one of the islands near the coast. The rocks were covered with oysters which made me wish I had a knife with me to shuck these oysters. After being distracted with the abundant amount of free seafood, we headed towards the trail were slowly on our way. We passed through the beaches of Guryepo (구례포), Meondong (먼동) and once we arrived at Neugpa Temple, the trail took us into the woodlands. Once we reached the clearing, we arrived at the Shinduri Sand dunes (신두리 해안사구) which we never really expected to see. After another hour of walking, we arrived at Shinduri and took the 14:25 bus back to town. It took a total of 4 hours to complete the 12 km section. Now that I have finished northern section of Haebyeongil, off to the southern section!
It has been a while since I've hiked up the mountain again mostly due to the weather being cold as well as me being lazy. Last weekend when I went up to the top with a few friends, the air was extremely hazy and I couldn't get the sunset photo that I wanted. Seeing that the weather would be clear today, I decided to head up after work to take a photo of the sunset. Using The Photographer's Ephemeris App on my phone, I was able to plan around what time to arrive at the summit before the sunset as well as where the sun will set. I took what I called the easy route since it was a paved road and it took less time. However, the sun didn't set where I expected it to (according to the app, I have to wait until September) but I did manage to get some shots that I am pleased with.
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