Last week I went to Seoraksan to see the fall colors. Seoraksan is near the east coast of South Korea, and it takes about 3 hours to get there, if you leave Seoul at midnight. With traffic it takes 5 hours to come back.
That's right, we left at midnight. We "slept" on the bus, arrived at the park entrance a little too early, "slept" until 5am, made sandwiches, then started our 20km ascent.
The fall colors are amazing. My measly camera cannot do them justice.
On the way up, there was a temple that was growing its own vegetables. I think these became kimchi. The temple was also serving bowls of rice porridge with kimchi on top.
At the base of the highest peak was a shelter we could sleep in for the night. There was a bit of a kerfuffle when we tried to check in (having made a reservation on the internet) and then were told that foreigners can't make reservations. Um, what??? Luckily we got a few spots, because it was so cold and foggy outside that by 7pm I was ready to cry. Yup, I went inside at 7pm to go to sleep. People were already snoring at that time so I don't think I fell asleep until 9 or 10. Then I woke up because it was too hot. Then they turned on all the lights at 5am and told us to get the hell out of there.
I've mentioned that people in Korea are pretty hardcore about hiking. This includes waking up at 5am to climb up to the peak, then walking back down in the dark without seeing anything.
The goal, I think, is to have your picture taken with this marker. There is no waiting in line - you pretty much have to shove your way into the front and not care that you are ruining somebody else's picture.
The full set of pictures (featuring actual trees and leaves) is here.
One day I may even add captions and descriptions of the photos, but I kinda need to finish my homework so that I can watch 미녀들의 수다...