It was an early November respite and I was excited to hike with cheerful friends. It was also a perfect day, not warm and not chilly either. Just the soft, cool breeze that offered welcome relief when the body warmed up from the unexpected steepness and challenges of the hike.
We didn’t really know how to go and which way to take towards the Inwangsan Trail. We just decided to meet at Gyeongbukgung Exit 1 and allowed the phone’s GPS to direct us to Inwangsan-gil. Thanks to these lamps, we knew we were on the right track.
And… we found the end of Inwangsan-gil!
From this road onwards, we took to laughter and gut-feel as to which way to go. I don’t know about the 3, but in my mind I didn’t expect to reach the peak. We were just there for fun, anyway, otherwise we would have prepared for proper outdoor gear and clothing appropriate for hiking. So, the moment we reached the first top with a steep incline, I allowed myself to fall into the magic of being on top of the world!
I’m on the top of the world looking down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I’ve found ever since you’ve been around
Your love’s put me at the top of the world
Something in the wind has learned my name
And it’s telling me that things are not the same
In the leaves on the trees and the touch of the breeze
There’s a pleasing sense of happiness for me
But it wasn’t enough. Lured by the beautiful rock formations, we kept on:
We reached a Buddhist Temple carved inside big rock formations. We explored the surroundings a little bit and were ready to call the hike done as it was the end of the trail… until we saw a man emerged from somewhere and decided to ask if there is a trail going up the peak. The friendly gentleman nodded and tried to explain the path that we were about to take. He assured us that it was going to be easy.
And that was when the real struggle began:
Armed with no hiking stick, you bet! I resorted to crawling! … Wait, did we say we were going to bring glamour to the mountain, thus the photo with heels? Epic fail, right? lol!
I made a mental note that when we go back hiking again, I need to check on good quality trekking poles that would make hiking more easy and fun! I want one with a grip just right for me, with adjustable length and not too heavy.
But that was not the end of it.
Apparently, it was a steep no-trail trail.
The “easy trail” turned up to be a climb using ropes and squeezing through rocks:
If it was just me, I wanted to turn back and go home. I got my photo on top of the hill in my heels, anyway! hahaha!
My! Was I glad I had them cheerful 3 and the ajussi angel who told us that it was going to be an easy path up – he ended up helping us through the ropes and the rocks. It was a glorious feeling when we were finally steps below the Seoul Fortress Wall.
And when we reached it, we carefully battled the fear of the ridges at the other side of the wall:
Victors! The picture tells of no fear. The cheerful 3 had their solo photos standing on the wall while I contented myself just sitting on top of the wall lest I be humpty dumpty and no kings’ men could put me together again.
It was exhilarating to be up there.
Inwangsan isn’t a very high mountain. There are more challenging and higher mountains in Seoul where you can relax at the peak. Others set up tents or comfortable hammocks for the ultimate chill. But I love this Inwangsan hike. I’m sure those who have reached it will have their own different and unique stories to tell….