Search This Blog

Monday, April 18, 2011

Moon-Soo-Sa (Moon-Soo Temple)

Saturday morning we woke up and the temperature had dropped about 10 degrees F. But we had decided the day before that we really wanted to go hiking to a temple. So we bundled up in sweatshirts and jeans instead of shorts and set out. Since it was so cold we decided we didn't want to hike all day. Shannon had spotted this temple on a map quite a ways away from us. We didn't know if tourists were allowed, we just hopped in the car and started driving. We left at 11am, stopped for lunch at Lotteria, which is a Korean burger joint, drove the long way around the coast, explored, got out and took pictures, and actually got to the mountain at about 2pm, after getting lost and getting stuck on a tollway!

We knew we were in the right place because of the lanterns at the road and the tour buses bringing old lady's to hike. Right now you're thinking "old lady's hike this? Must be a puss mountain." It's not, these old lady's are tough as nails and got there at like 7am to hike all day up that mountain and back down again. We were the puss's that drove most of the way up the mountain because we were starting at 2pm and we're out of shape!

Since we couldn't read the signs we had no idea how far away the temple was from the road, so we would drive a little ways, find a good place to park and get out and hike a little bit, realize we weren't even remotely close to the temple (no temple in sight, even from the top of hills), and hike back to the car and drive some more.

On one of those stops, we had hiked off the "road", and kept finding these mounds. We came across one with a marker and figured out they must be graves (confirmed with Andy, Korean friend, later).

After we got back into the car, we drove again, and we discovered that what we thought was the mountain, was actually a mountain next to the mountain and we hadn't started going up the big one yet.

Here's the beautiful little valley in-between the two mountains. 

We drove until we saw some signs and other cars, of the other people that were too puss to hike the entire mountain(s). At this point we still had a little hike until we started to see the temple lanterns, I was out of breath for sure!

I love the lanterns!

We got up to the temple and didn't stay for long, we saw a side trail and decided to hike up to see what we saw. What we saw was the top of the mountain, 599.8 meters above sea level.

The view from the top of the mountain. That huge looking city down there is Ulsan... not so huge compared to Seoul or Busan.

We started hiking back down, I looked and none of the pictures I have properly show how steep it was. You'll just have to take my word that I no longer thought the Koreans were silly for all having very expensive hiking sticks.

We saw this very small deer, which we're pretty sure is full grown (see the antlers) but he was very small. We didn't see any tusks which would have made him a Water Deer, but we could've missed them.

We kept coming across stacks of rocks. We're not entirely certain why, we're assuming it's a method of devotion or meditation, as it seems like it would take a lot of concentration. 

Coming back down the trail, I took this photo of the bell tower. I do have more pictures of the temple, though we didn't take a ton as it was obviously a place where people were worshiping we didn't want to be disrespectful.


We left at about 5pm and we got home at about 6pm, we took main highways this time. Three hours of hiking driving and picture taking later. It was a great experience and we're talking about trying another temple next weekend. One not quite so far away.

The top of the mountain in relation to the temple.

Temple in relation to our house.

No comments:

Post a Comment