After we finished up at the festival we hopped back on the bus (stopping briefly at the tiniest convenience store ever for snacks and beverages- I wonder if the tour guides are friends with the owner considering we passed an E-mart and didn't stop there...) and arrived at Mount Worak! The scenery was so stunning and peaceful. We checked into our motel rooms (it was 5 or 6 people/room and luckily our group of friends totaled five) and then had some free time before the BBQ. We attempted to ride a tandem bicycle but the second seat was all weird and I kept banging my knees on the handlebars when I tried to peddle. It was also really tough to balance. So we abandoned that idea and Matt and Curtis decided to join in on a soccer game.
Then it was dinner time and we all feasted on samgyupsal and corn chowder.
Everyone was really friendly on the trip and we picked up some new buddies. Specifically, John and Elaine from Scotland. They are totally fresh (barely a month) in Korea and since there was a tiny norae bang we got to pop their norae cherry! It was obvious they weren't used to having English speakers in those parts since the book was missing most of the English pages. They only had one book with English song listings and that book only went up to "L". We only did one round of norae since there are a lot of good songs after "L" and so we promised John and Elaine a better norae initiation the following weekend.
What night would be complete without lighting some Roman candles?
We called it a night pretty early since we had to get up super early for the big hike the next day. This was a truly Korean trip since all the food was Korean and the sleeping quarters were no different.
Check it out:
Yep, the five of us slept on the floor. Okay, technically we slept on thin mats on the floor but it was basically sleeping on the floor. No one slept that well and I was surprised I was able to sleep much at all. We just aren't used to sleeping on totally rock hard surfaces. Our mattress here is super hard but it's still not the floor.
After a quick breakfast we started our 4.3 km hike (that's to the peak- it's 4.3 km back too). The weather was glorious and the surroundings were breathtaking. The hike, well, it was brutal. Actually the tour guide told us when we showed up to the mountain that it was a mountain for advanced hikers. What the hell? Why didn't they post that on the website? We decided to brave it but after about 1.5 km I was pretty much hiked out. So I quit like a giant baby. Hahah. Not exactly. I mean, it was a really, really difficult hike- basically over uneven, rocky terrain with at least a 50 degree slope (often more). I just decided I would rather enjoy the gorgeous day and scenery than trudge up a mountain for hours. Dana and Curtis agreed and so we split our group in two.
I'm really proud of Matt and Hokunani (and everyone else) who finished the hike but I don't regret my decision at all. I had an amazing afternoon lying in the sun, napping, reading my book and hanging out with Dana and Curtis. Dana even french braided my hair.
Here's a picture that Hokunani took at the top of Mount Worak and there's Matty in his advanced hiker glory!
We ate some more bibimbap, packed and waited for the last of the group to arrive back at the motel. The time to head back rolled around but everyone wasn't back from the mountain yet. Where were our new friends John and Elaine?!? They were lost somewhere on the mountain! We waited and waited and worried. The tour guide made it seem like they had been located and so we all piled in the bus and drove to a rest stop on the way home where they were supposed to meet us.
Like I mentioned, John and Elaine are really new to Korea. At the time of this trip they had only been here for 3 weeks and so they don't know really any Korean, had no idea where they were, all their stuff was at the motel (who takes their purse hiking?) and they had no cell phone and therefore didn't have the tour guide's phone number. It was almost 4:30pm (we were supposed to leave for Seoul at 3pm) when one of the guides said, "If they don't find them by 5pm we're going to head back and the other guide will stay behind." Holy crap! They had no idea where they were! They were located and poor John and Elaine were totally in shock and exhausted. It was a relief to reunite with them and John debriefed to me about the ordeal for a good portion of the trip home. What a dramatic end to the weekend! Everyone made it home safe and sound though and I would go on another trip with Adventure Korea, although maybe not a hiking trip.