Jirisan National Park: Ascending Jungbong

Above is a blue sky with the thinnest veil of white clouds covering it, and below is a series of peaks covered with brown-grey, leafless trees.  In the foreground are the branches of a shrub which will soon lose its brown leaves as well.

Jirisan National Park is both in Gyeongsangnam Province and Jeollanam Province, but since I only went through the section inside Gyeongsangnam Province, I categorize it under ‘Gyeongsangnam’ in this blog.

Gyeongsangnam Province is in the southeastern corner of South Korea, and Jirisan National Park is at the western edge of the province - in fact, it straddles the border with Jeollanam Province.

Jirisan National Park has the greatest variety of multi-day hikes within a single national Park in all of South Korea. It also has the highest mountains in mainland South Korea.

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The length of the Jirisan Ridge can be traversed in three days two nights, or two days and one night if you are in great physical shape and push yourself. I didn’t want to push myself too hard, and due to travel logistics I didn’t have three days, so I picked an itinerary which would take me halfway through the ridge (i.e. the part of the Jirisan ridge in Gyeongsangnam Province).

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I took a bus from Busan station to Daewonsa – but the schedule I had was out of date, so I ended up departing Busan later than planned, and arriving at Daewonsa late, which meant I couldn’t start the hike yet and had to sleep in a minbak in Yupyeong Village, which is … two kilometers up the road from Daewonsa Temple? I don’t remember.

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The minbak offered a room with an ondol (i.e. an eletric heating mat on hard floor with blankets) for 30,000 won a night. Around the village was a stream with nice rocks, as shown below.

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Early next morning I started hiking. Since this is not the fastest route up to the famous peaks, it’s not particularly popular, which suited me just fine.

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I knew the route would be steep, but I underestimated just how long it would take me to hike up. It’s a really good thing I had stayed in the village overnight.

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Down at the lowest elevations there were still plenty of trees in brilliant autumn colors, but it didn’t take me long to get to an altitude where the trees were already bare of leaves.

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I reached Chibanmok Shelter, where I was able to get some drinking water. There were Korean hikers relaxing there. This blogger stayed at Chinbanmok overnight.

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Then I got high enough to see some views, even if visibility was not great.

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I was also getting tired of all of the uphill climbing.

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FINALLY, I got to the top of Jungbong, which at 1,875 meters is the second highest mountain in mainland South Korea (3rd highest in all of South Korea).

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And from the top of Jungbong, I saw Cheonhwangbong, which at 1,915 meters is *the* highest mountain peak in mainland South Korea (shown in the above picture). It also lay between me and the place where I was going to sleep that night. And I had to go down into that steep saddle before hiking another steep trail up. Did I manage? Be sure to read the next post!

Looking up at Jungbong from the saddle.

Looking up at Jungbong from the saddle.

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About Sara K.

Sara K. is an aromantic asexual from California who has previously lived in Taiwan. She blogs at the notes which do not fit, has previously been a contributor at Manga Bookshelf, and has written guest posts for Hacking Chinese. She enjoys reading, travel, live theatre, learning languages, and gardening.
This entry was posted in Forest, Gyeongsangnam, Hike, Mostly Photos, National Park and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Jirisan National Park: Ascending Jungbong

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