Hiking Dobongsan (도봉산)

South Korea

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March, 8 th Seoul

Hiking Dobongsan. I met Harry yesterday at the Couchsurfing hangout and we decided to IMG_5255.jpeggo on a hike together. Interestingly he went to Düsseldorf last December where he met Sam and heard about the hikes as well. So, in the morning he picked me up by car and we drove to Dobongsan. He had his little dog Yogi with him, who exactly looked like my grandpa’s dog. The street from the parking spot to the entry of Bukhansan national park was full of outdoor shops. It was like paradise and I imagined the jealous face of my best friend Dominic. I have only seen so many outdoor shops in IMG_5260.jpgone place before and that was Arco, the climber’s paradise. At the entry park’s staff told us the dog wouldn’t be allowed to enter, so Harry went back to bring the dog back to the car. Meanwhile I bought a new Nalgene bottle since the last one couldn’t survive last’s hike. We entered the park and hiked along a river. The water was still half frozen. When the majority of people disappeared Harry released the little dog out of his backpack. Together we climbed up a forest trail made of huge rocky IMG_5266stones. The ascent was much harder than expected and I started sweating. Harry was faster than me, so I climbed on my own while the city’s skyline appeared behind me. IMG_5279.jpgAfter a while of climbing I could see the blank mountains rearing in front of me I heard the sang of monks. I continued climbing and suddenly flight of stairs guided to a small temple builded into the mountains. The smell of incense in the cold air and the monk’s sang created a very special atmosphere. This was my childhood imagination of Korean’s mountain temple. The small coloured temple was an amazing place with a breathtaking view of the city and the IMG_5159.jpgmountains. We made a short break and I drank some water from the mountains and enjoyed every single second spending at this place. We continued hiking and climbed hundreds of super steep stairs. My legs began to get sour, but there was no turn around. Exhausted we arrived at the a viewpoint and the I could see the city of Seoul. This view was amazing. The mountains were rocky, blank and super steep. I felt free like a bird. I have never experienced such a view before. We IMG_5289.jpgclimbed to summit and there we could enjoy a 360° view. Indescribable! But this wasn’t the end of today’s trail. We climbed on a horseback to the next peak while passing some IMG_5287.jpgups and downs. It was rather climbing than hiking anymore. I was really thinking about it wouldn’t be better to wear a harness. Railings supported the climb, but it was still very

adventurous. I was amazed by this trail. On the top of the horseback it went steep down to both sides and indeed I got a little bit afraid of heights. At a small platform we made a IMG_5301.jpgbreak to eat our lunch and we weren’t alone. Two little cats, obviously living here in the top of the mountains, were watching us and enjoying some of our lunch. Hikers around

us were surprised to see little Yogi on top as well. An elderly men obviously liked it very much and gave us some cookies. After lunch we continued climbing and went to two

other summits. One was more amazing than the other one. The descent was hard, because it was very steep and I was not sure if my injured knee could deal with the slippery dry terrain. It went well and with shaking legs we arrived back at the IMG_5304.jpgshopping street. Yogi disappeared back in the bag for a while. We walked through the shops and I really enjoyed it. Hiking makes you hungry, so we decided to have dinner together nearby Harry’s place in Itaewon. The restaurant was a very local
one and I enjoyed the meal and spending time with Harry. When we left the restaurant the sun was almost setting. Since the N Seoul Tower was close I decided to walk there while Harry went home. I watched the sunset from the top of Namsan, the mountain IMG_5171.jpgwhere the tower is located. Slowly the city turned grey while the sun disappeared behind the mountains. The grey changed to blue and the city turned on their lights. The light IMG_5169.jpgwent brighter and brother while the sky changed to a dark blue. When the sky turned into black, the city was an ocean of coloured lights. I don’t know how long I stand at the observation platform watching the city, but at some point it got cold and decided to IMG_5193.jpgwalk back to Myeongdong. The tower was the number one place for couples and everywhere were romantic decoration and couples in love. Koreans celebrate their love IMG_5218.jpgvery openly and I was very surprised by that. I arrived at Seoul station and took the train

back home. It was a long day and I walked a lot and I was happy when I was just laying in my bed.

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