Last weekend my family and I spent 3 nights and 4 days camping in Seoraksan National Park. It rained for the first portion of our trip, creating amazing fog and low-lying clouds in the forest. It was a truly spectacular sight! Some of the leaves were beginning to change their colors, revealing the bright oranges and reds that signify the coming of fall, but the season had just begun, and so in many areas the colors had not yet changed. I felt that, in these spots of the park, it would be better to illustrate the majesty of the landscape in black and white.
Stopping to see Singeung-sa Temple was a must, simply because, according to Dr. Jon Carter Covell, oriental art authority, it is the oldest Zen temple in the world. The temple was originally built in 652 AD and then rebuilt in 710 and 1648 due to fires.
While in the area, we made a point to visit Sokcho, a gorgeous fishing town on the northeastern coast of South Korea. It lies so close to the forest that you can see it in the background of the coastal pictures below. The rain taunted even the last days of our trip, but in making lemonade out of lemons, we were blessed to witness rays of sun poke through threatening storm clouds unlike any I’ve seen before. I had a really difficult time picking which of the many photos I took of this scene to post for you all! I should also mention that through the break in the clouds the fresh sky became an amazing turquoise blue, highlighting the already unbelievably blue East Sea water! If you get a chance to see Sokcho, pay a visit to its two famous lighthouses: the Lighthouse Observatory and a little pink lighthouse just off the main pier. The people here are super friendly, but then again, you’d be hard pressed to find a Korean anywhere on the peninsula who wasn’t friendly, selling a dizzying array of seafood. Do not leave Sokcho without trying the squid, as it is said that the creature is best served in this coastal fishing town. My daughter ordered hers stuffed and loved it! As always, our puppy went along for they journey. You’ll find a picture of her in here as well!
My boys along a walking path
I went on a photo walk with a local group of photographers to Yongmasan Mountain last weekend. Despite keeping our fingers crossed on the way up this steep climb, the Korean haze never did clear. I made the most of view by highlighting in these photographs what a typical day under Korean (actually, probably blowing over from China) haze looks like. Even through smog one can witness the glory of God and the amazing talent He bestowed on man to create metropolises as great as Seoul! What a trip!
Did a little temple admiring in Yeoju last weekend! The Buddhist temple, Silleuksa, overlooks the Han River which runs from Mt. Bongmi to the Yeo River. According to Visit Korea, Silleuksa was probably built by Monk Wonhyo during the reign of King Jinpyeong in the Silla Period.
Last weekend I went to Jindo for the Sea Parting Festival with my family and friends. What an amazing experience! We arrived in the wee hours of the morning, and were promptly fitted for our knee-high rubber boots. After receiving our torches we headed out to the sea! People clamored to the sand bar, trying to make it all the way to the island. During this night-time excursion we were pleasantly surprised by fireworks! The sun rose rather quickly, as did the tide. As the tide rose, people were forced off the sand bar and onto the beach. Only a few lingered as long as they could, digging for precious (and apparently delicious) clams.
Up next was the parade, wrestling and the performing arts at the Shell Stage. We headed back out for a second parting of the sea at around 5pm that night. After a full day (and full tummies from festival food) we spent the night in a hostel right on the beach! What a true cultural experience, thanks to Adventure Korea!
The pictures are in order of our adventures. I hope you enjoy!
I had the great honor of tagging along with soldiers from 4-2 ARB today, delivering Christmas presents to children at a local orphanage. As a group, we played with the children and snuggled with the infants for as long as the caregivers would allow. It was so hard to leave!