Hiking in South Korea
Apparently, I just can't bear the thought of traveling somewhere and not doing a hike. Like, if you're going to see the world, you should see the world, right?
However, I was also pretty skeptical about how much we could handle with three kids. Especially since G has gained a lot of weight, but hasn't caught up quite as quickly in the gross motor skills department. So, I picked a hike that seemed like it had a lot of escape routes in case we reached our limit unexpectedly. You know, it had multiple ways down, some of which were longer than others and had an optional out and back to a summit. We definitely did hit our limit way earlier than I expected, so I was so happy for the easier options! A cross-park hike in Bukhansan National Park ended up being the perfect hike for us.
So, can I just say how amazing it is that you can get to a national park on the subway in Seoul? Seriously. It's a hiking game-changer. We took a city bus to one side of the park and then when we came out on the other side, we walked to a subway stop. So, the hike we attempted was actually a summit hike, but the reason I picked it was because we could skip the summit bit if we wanted to (we did end up skipping it) and then still hike through the mountain pass to the other side without having to turn around. The hike without any of the cool extra things was 5 miles, and we ended up doing none of the cool extra things, which everyone was really happy about. I carried G the whole way since H works pretty hard already to convince himself to hike without carrying a 28 pound child. Whoa buddy. It's been a good three years since I hiked with a kid on me, and back then they got off sometimes. That seriously slowed me down. We tried one time to make G hike himself, and it lasted about three minutes. He was scared to get his hands dirty, so he wouldn't touch the rocks to stabilize himself and once we realized we were going to have to coach him through every single step, he went right back on my back. Boy was I sore the next day. An extra almost 30 pounds really strains your muscles.
So the route took us through a mountain pass where there was actually a secret gate where they used to sneak ammunition from the city to soldiers on the front lines through the wall that ran across the whole mountain. Parts of the wall are apparently still there, but we didn't hike along any of them because they were all in the "cool extra" category. But it was pretty awesome to go through the little gate! We also ran out of water about halfway through, but I guess in these countries with long trekking histories, there are historic buildings along the way and stuff. So we were able to buy some water for a very high price. But once we got all the way down and out of the park, we all bought sports drinks and everyone thoroughly enjoyed them. I guess being on the brink of running out of water makes you not drink as much as you should, so we really downed those drinks! Overall, it was a great hike. Very tiring, but I think it's the closest I've come to correctly estimating how much we can handle. In the past I've always way overshot or way undershot how long we can hike. But this one was perfect!
And then the next day we slept in and ate a lot of food.