Monday, September 3, 2012

Mountain training

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”-Henry David Thoreau

I'm an avid hiker and nature lover.  I don't care how hippie it sounds, but there's nothing more relaxing or pleasing for the soul than enjoying the beauty and simple pleasures of nature.  Thoreau got it right.  There was a real man.    

Hiking also lets me kill two birds with one stone:  I get to spend some quality time with the Mrs., and I get a good work out for BJJ.  This past Sunday I spent the day hiking at Geumjeong Mountain located about ten minutes from my house.  The great thing about Busan is that the mountains are located only minutes away from just about anywhere in the city.  

Hiking here in Korea is considered an “older person” past time by the younger crowd (they are too busy playing Starcraft, listening to K-Pop, and eating fried chicken), so I guess that makes me somewhat of an ajusshi (old guy).  The mountains are always full of the middle aged and elderly people (and cats), and let me tell you most of them are seriously fit and legit badasses.  I remember being passed up one time by an older, dual walking stick wielding gentleman who was at least pushing seventy.

                                         There are tons of cats....everywhere

This particular mountain used to be a military installation that housed a very large, impressive fortified gate.  Unfortunately, most of Korea's historical sites were destroyed long ago by a succession of wars and a long Japanese occupation, however Geumjeong still contains some beautiful temples and steles.  

                          This stele cost 4,585 bags of rice and 1,552 yards of cloth...yikes!

                               A temple

One of my favorite things about Korean forests are the trees.  I grew up half of my life in New England and the other half in Texas, and I have never seen anything like them. They are really beautiful.

    Temple fish