11 – Sumyeongsan 수명산

11 - Sumyeongsan

Sumyeongsan 수명산
The Military Practice Mountain
Subway: Ujangsan (Line 5)
Distance hiked: 1.92 km
Time: 56:05

There’s something a bit off about Sumyeongsan, another “unofficial” mountain that still feels like a trek. Where I enter is a playground, silent for the day because of the rain. I climb up, past a small forest and the now-familiar sounds of pigeons and magpies. There is a feeling of abandonment. On my left, a makeshift toy rocket made out of a plastic bottle, and on my right is a group of mismatched dining table chairs facing each other, devoid of occupants. Further on, the mountain breaks and I descend to find a road that leads to a school. A path goes up again and I encounter azaleas, weight lifting equipment, and mirrors. A common occurrence. The path narrows and a wall comes on my right, and a hiker tells me that the military uses the space for drills. I feel both uneasy and amused at seeing a military observation post that, upon closer inspection, has costumed mannequins instead of real soldiers. At this point, I am exhausted, and I need a bus to get to a subway for the hour-long ride home to the other side of Seoul.

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