The Mountain for Worship
Subway: Seoul National University (Line 2)
Distance hiked: 8.25 km (together with Gwanaksan)
I arrive at what I believe is Gwanaksan, but I realize through the signs that there are two mountains here. I am engrossed with the initial jangseung (Korean totem poles) in Gwanaksan, and follow the signs to this other, inner, mountain. What the trails point me to is a shrine. I fully expect a Buddhist temple and am surprised when I see a place for Catholic worship, although the sign outside says that there used to be Buddhist temples that burned down. The area was equipped to hold a Catholic mass with a circular walkway with statues that represent the Stations of the Cross. A statue with the Virgin Mary overlooks memorials for three saints. Many worshippers were at the sight, praying. It is quite striking to be stopped while in power hiking mode to encounter a site such as this. I hurriedly leave, and find a spot far away from the holy site to borrow the mountain’s soil.