Archive for the ‘hiking’ Category

Our first week in Canada

February 11, 2013

Here is a brief look at our first week in Penetang, Ontario.  I am on my mother’s computer and don’t want to take too much time on it so a lot of this post will be terse to the point of being cryptic.  I am writing this post more for my memory than for international scrutiny.

Just before coming to Canada, I had one last hike on a small, local mountain and finished the hike in my T-shirt. The day before leaving, The Little Guy (TLG) and I rode our bikes to Eulsookdo.
last mountain


Jan 31: Long slow drive home – often terrible visibility.  Went to sleep early, up at 3:30 for the day

Sat Feb 1: Midland winter Carnival.  Candy cannon and dog-sled ride


winter carnival saturday (4)


Here, re-enactors fire the Candy cannon, much as the originals would have done to fight the Americans in 1812.  Britain had access to sugar cane and so worked to rot the American’s teeth.

Sun Feb 2.  Visited the Wye Marsh where my mother volunteers.


feb 3 (10)


feb 3 (28)


Mon, Feb 3: First day of school, chose a cat


big snow (3)

Tues, Feb 4: picked up cat “Colino7” from the SPCA.  Colino7 is a four-year-old neutered cat that apparently lived outside for a month or two before being brought in to the SPCA.  I say apparently because the volunteer at the pound pointed out that she only had the drop-off person’s word to go by and that wasn’t always trustworthy.  The cat is amazingly laid-back and has quickly adjusted to living in our home.  TLG, who loves the number seven, named the cat.

catWed, Feb 5: I drove to Toronto to Korean Consulate, and Barrie Drive Test for Ontario drivers licence

Thurs, Feb 6: Vet checkup for cat. All good

All this week, TLG watched a whole lot of TV – Treehouse channel

Fri, Feb 7: Big snow, buses cancelled but TLG went to school -only 20 students total.  Lots of fun.  We met Alex’s teacher, Mrs D.  She called TLG “Brilliant” regarding math.  She repeated that he helped his classmates on the math problems.  She had started him on Grade one spelling, which he is motoring through.  I thought it strange that he learn those words at a slow rate -I considered pushing him in that regard -but they are the basics of letter sounds and phonics.  I guess she knows what she is doing.  He has a good friend in class, Tyson, but is quiet in speaking to the full class.
skiing feb 7 (4)

feb 3 (1)b



Saturday, Feb 9: Big tobogganing day at Midland’s little lake park hill.

snow fort (8)


  TLG dressed in his hanbok and we recorded a bow and new years greeting in korean for YN and family.


lunar new year facebook (2)


 Made a snow fort and played inside.


Sunday, Feb 10, played in snow fort.  We shopped for Valentine’s Day card stock and a ‘ministick’. This is a tiny hockey stick that the kids use at recess at his school. Full size sticks should not be brought to the school but similar sticks are available for gym class. TLG was surprisingly quiet and cranky at the time.

He is still watching a lot of TV -no friends to visit or evening activities organized yet.  Perhaps due to the move and the changes, Alex needs me to hold him and sing lullabies to put him to sleep.
TLG has been uncomfortably interested in death and pets.  His questions have put my and Nana’s faulty memories on display.  We have told him about the cats Little Man, Blackjack, Tailor and Mums and the dogs Midnight, Misty, Buddy, Kingkong, Mr Mugs and Snoopy and I am happy to relive the good memories of these pets.  Still, he has asked how long these pets lived and how they died.  As I noted in our last visit to Canada, he asks similar questions many times possibly to ensure he knows all the details and understands them clearly.
Now that he has a pet of his own, he seems to be preparing for that time, probably when he enters university, when his cat will pass away.

2012 fall hiking

January 25, 2013

There are a few hikes already from this time period on the blog, but here are three I missed reporting on.

On November 10, My son and I went hiking in Jinyoung, a village that is within Kimhae city limits.


His school organized the trip so it is one of the few that he has been eager to do.  Here is one of his friends.keumbyeongsan2

Love those East Sea Maples!keumbyeongsan3

Next, another trip to Seokbulsa on November 13  Two coworkers and I visited the fortress on Keumjeongsan, then hiked to Seokbulsa.

Yes, we took a cable car most of the way up the mountain to the fortress, but in our defense, we did hike nearly down to sea level before climbing back up to Seokbulsa.

seokbulsa-geomjang fortress1

I like the way the forest has grown around the walls.  Indefensible yes, but also beautiful.seokbulsa-geomjang fortress2

My two friends posing at a reconstructed gate.
seokbulsa-geomjang fortress3

I missed photographing this stone building at the temple last time, so I am glad to rectify the omission now.seokbulsa-geomjang fortress4

Looking into, and out of, the narrow canyon.
seokbulsa-geomjang fortress5 seokbulsa-geomjang fortress6

And finally, Baekyangsan, December 13

As a linking (rhetorical or narrative, not internetical) device, let me start by looking across a valley to the beginning of another hike I have done.  We are looking at Dongseo University and the previous hike went southerly to Hadan subway station.




Patrick is now hiking across Portugal and has his own blog on the trip.

baekyangsan3As you can see, we had wonderfully clear skies for our walk.



Again with the narrative linking.  At the base of the blade of rock in the middle of the picture is Seokbulsa, described here and, well, here in this post.

We finished near Gupo market and found many animals for sale, most were alive.


In Canada I was, and will be, a canoeist.  Perhaps I will also try to hike more.  Here, hiking is nearly as required as eating kimchi or visiting a Buddhist temple.  I will miss the mountains when I leave.



The most beautiful temple in …Busan

October 22, 2012

I’m a little busy these days but promised a coworker pictures of Seokbulsa, which might be the most beautiful temple in Korea.  Yeah, the more I think about this, better I feel about this strong claim.

Having made the claim, I need to back away, at least as far as my photography requires.  I do intend to stitch some more photos together to improve some panoramas and these photos are stacked in a gallery so I can’t describe them properly at this time.  Someday (probably), I will do so.

I do need to say the one of the road is meant to explain the shortest route to the temple.  The guides I found as stated start at Exit 2 of mandeok Subway Station and “head toward the older tunnel”.  Perhaps a better suggestion would be to stick to the left side of the road and just go up.  The older tunnel is named, on the road itself, as ‘1 jeh’.

Its a steep hike, but pleasant.

Naengjeong Station to Hadan Station hike

September 22, 2012


Well, we didn’t start at Naengjeong Station; we took a local bus to Dongseo University and hiked from there.  On the other hand, we passed Hadan station and walked on, then returned to it so perhaps that balances out.

What a great day for a hike.  My companion Patrick and I started in jackets but did most of the hike in T-shirts.

Here is our trip as displayed on Google:


And as displayed on Naver:

I am a Googlephile, but Naver’s depiction is a lot more as I recall the hike. I guess our journey had three parts.  In the first,  we more-or-less maintained our altitude going around Eomgwang Mountain, then climbed and descended to a beautiful place I christen Gudeok Pass village.  On the maps, it was above Gudeok Tunnel.

These rock piles were on both sides of the path, which was near Dongseo University and plenty wide enough for mountain bikes.



A Gudeok Pass Village, we walked through Gudeok Culture Park.  This was the start of the second part of the trip.


Here is the high point of the trip, Gudeok peak at 565 metres.  It was a little challenging to find the place as an aviation-navigation station is on the mountain and some area is fenced off.  To this point, we had mostly been on wide trails, although there was a section from the Culture park to the aviation-navigation road, which was narrow and steep.


From Gudeok peak, headed south to Seunghak peak and the path went through a lot of open alpine meadow.



As we crossed the meadow and from Seunghak Peak, we could we a most unusually sited complex of apartments.  I guess the ground floors would get some some sunlight, perhaps from 11:30 to 12:30, but the cliff-faces around them were higher than the apartments themselves.







Here I am at the peak of Seunghak and in the background is Gudeok peak.  Mere minutes from the time this picture was taken, I slid on an angled rock and hurt my knee.  Not seriously, but annoyingly.




Below Seunghak peak was a traditional site.  I called it a temple but Patrick suggested it was too big and might be a Confucian school.  As the colors are not as bright as normally found on Buddhist temples, I tend to agree with him.  Look for similar insights in his forthcoming book describing his travel in Jeju Island.



So we walked through Dong-a University and had several friendly students say hello – which doesn’t happen as frequently at our own university – and reached Hadan Station.  Patrick was interested in going further and I was not but I did take him to a local map of hiking routes that crisscross the city.  Their are around six or seven courses or sections and he wanted to check out a different one.  Patrick; here it is.


I don’t know how or why it has taken me more than two years to hike the route, but I will definitely be returning soon.



Meteor shower this weekend

July 25, 2012

Yesterday evening, I hiked up a hill looking for a location with a good view of sky and not too much light pollution.  I am tired of looking at the sky and exclaiming, “Look at the stars.  There must be dozens of them.”

I think the word ‘peak’ is too grandiose but at the top, I had a good view of the Nakdonggang and the west. Before it was dark, I took these pictures:


It’s interesting how the fortress-like cloud on the right remained over more than 20 minutes.

Anyway, just after 8:00, I saw my first star and over ten minutes, I discerned several more, but no falling stars.

Oh, a link for you: meteor showers this weekend and in two weeks. The link describes this weekend’s shower as being best viewed in the southern hemisphere which I don’t recall reading the first time I checked that page.

While up there, I was cooled by a gentle breeze but also visited by a few mosquitoes.  When I began my descent, I used a flashlight.  I heard some strange rustling in the woods and a lot of cicadas.  I jumped and flailed quite vigorously  when I discovered they were attracted to the headlight!

I completed my descent without the light and was able to recognize rocky dirt from trees and brush.

I hiked in the dark comfortably but I don’t think my son would be so relaxed.  In the woods, out of the breeze, I was sweating again and I am not eager to carry my son: I may have to consider other places.  Perhaps the cicada population will have decreased by then.

A month in Gangwondo… and where Surprises is going in 2012

January 30, 2012

Hi all.  It’s been so long.  In November, I was either busy with nanowrimo or procrastinating about not being busy with it.  In December, I guess I was busy with exams then camp.  In January, I was at camp, then sorta rootless for a while.

I remain sorta rootless now, but do feel I have time to blog.

Let’s see. I learned from Nanowrimo and really should discuss it more at my creativity blog.  At my university, I was the first person done the grading and had my results entered before any other.  Sadly, I am quite proud of that.

The camp went well, although it squeezed Christmas quite a bit. We had Christmas on Dec 20 and I was on the road to Gangwondo on the 23rd.

For more about my time in Gangwon, visit my Gangwon blog for January.  But first, here is a taste:

There should be a video from Boribong – the peak of Chiaksan National Park, as well.  I’ll put that up when I can. Added later: here it is!

You might reasonably be wondering what I mean by ‘rootless’.  Well, we are apartment warming for some family who will move soon.  As near as I can learn, it is good luck to have a family move into an apartment as soon as it is bought.  My in-laws are still working and their current apartment is still rented until the end of February, so we are spending the nights there.  Does that sound strange to you?  Good.  I still haven’t figured it out.  Anyway, we are commuting each night and morning.

As many have, I made some resolutions for this year and am already behind on them- I’m blaming the ‘rootless’ thing.  One goal is to write 4000 words a week on my blogs.  Now, you are unlikely to see 4,000 words in a given week here, but here or at Gangwon Notes or the Creativiti Project, it should happen.

It is tough to say what you will find on this blog.  I remain a fan of human-powered travel, environmental issues, and teaching ESL but have learned enough to know I don’t know all that much about these fields.  If I write about ESL, I want to do more than post a link and add one sentence of commentary.

I am also looking for extra work.  My university pays me a great wage per hour- I get paid for February and work zero hours – but not so much per year.  As a family man, I need to find some new sources of income.  It is legal for me to do so, but I probably won’t go into many further details on the blog.

In the last four months of 2011, I somehow lost 3 kg and saw 89.—kg for the first time in many years.  I want more of that -well, less of that, I guess.  When I am more settled, it will be time to exercise regularly again.  Until that time, I plan to hike when possible.  My hiking in Gangwon Province was great and its time to do more of it.

So, come here often.  I expect there will be more for you to read this year than last.

Flowers and ‘snow’

April 19, 2010

These pictures are mostly for family back in Canada.  The cherry trees still look great and I love the ‘snow’ of fallen blossoms around them.

Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

April 5, 2010

I jokingly titled a recent post “The most wonderful time of the year”.  However, that is a good description of early April in Korea.  I am not referring to the sunken naval ship, the slightly increased risk of war and the much higher risk of any such war going nuclear, mind you!  No, I am referring to the wild variety of mountain flowers, warm days and cool nights.  This is a great time to be in Korea!

On Sunday morning, I went to Jinhae to check out it’s famous cherry blossom festival.  My verdict: Jinhae is always a beautiful and quiet little town, the blossoms make it other-worldly, but wait until next weekend as they are not even close to their peak yet.

First, I went to a mountainous area that I had first visited twelve years ago with friends.  The trees were black and a little grim.  Because of the rain, I had at first thought the blossoms had been washed away.  Further exploration convinced me that they hadn’t bloomed yet.  The flowers were better in town, even though that was at only a slightly lower altitude.

After some time in town, I went to the Naval academy.  Visitors next weekend might enjoy better blossoms but will not gain entrance to the academy.

This little guy was guarding a corner of the museum, which is full of Yi soon-shin relics and information.

The azaleas are also just coming into bloom.  Geoje Island looks great – From the Chosun Ilbo:

Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

March 15, 2010

The festival will be held from March 31 (fireworks on the evening of the 30th) to April 9.  As I recall, from twelve years ago, the whole town is tinged pink by sunlight traveling through the leaves, and a veritable snow of blossom petals lines the roads.

I seem to recall the Navy base being open during the festival and, in fact, it is also a celebration of Admiral Yi Soon-shin.

Korean Tourism has some information and links to a report of the 2007 festival.

On other sites, I saw people advising against coming all the way from Seoul just for the festival, particularly as Yeoido has it’s own festival.  Still, if you want the added value of possibly meeting the Surprises Aplenty family, you’ll come to Jinhae!