The Mountain that Nearly Killed Me
Subway: Danggogye (Line 4)
Distance hiked: 7.77 km
Oh, this is going to be easy, I think, as I go up Suraksan, completely forgetting that any Korean mountain with an ‘ak’ in the name is a force to be reckoned with. I am even able to buy a popsicle from a man 30 minutes into my hike. But like an idiot, I miscalculate the time, and end up speeding down the mountain to beat the sunset. The remaining 10% of my hike is pitch black, and because I am at a rocky stream, I lose the trail, am close to sheer panic, and even closer to concussions, sprains, and—I wince thinking about this—death.
I stumble over dry leaves and through sharp branches. Thank goodness for GPS and the flashlight on my phone. But most of all, thank goodness it is Buddha’s birthday, because the temple at the end of my hike had these glowing paper lanterns, helping me find my way.
On the way down, I vividly remember passing by two ajusshi on separate occasions. They didn’t look like they cared about the time. I really hope they made it back.
I am extremely grateful for well-kept traditions, modern technology, and friends who would come over to give you ice cream and remind you to hike smarter.
Happy birthday, Buddha. And many, many thanks.