After I turned right off the Samsinbong ridge down towards Ssangyesa, the trail stopped being a bumpy up-and-down-up-and-down hike, and I finally started seriously lowering my altitude.
I was afraid the trail was going to be really steep after all of those kilometers of not lowering altitude, and it is a steep trail, but not so much that it put particular strain on my or my knees.
The map above marks the section of the trail I’m discussing in this post in blue.
One of the benefits of reducing my altitude is that the trees finally had leaves again!
And so I got to enjoy some of South Korea’s famous autumn colors.
The trail down to Ssangyesa follows a stream passing through the woods.
The most famous site along the trail between the ridge and Ssangyesa, of course, is the Buril waterfall.
The waterfall is named after a monk. This monk lived during the Joseon dynasty and … I may not be remembering the story correctly, but I think he was extremely talented and everyone wanted him to participate in worldly affairs, but in his humility he secluded himself by this waterfall for many years where he finally attained enlightenment. ‘Buril’ is written in hanja as 佛日, which means ‘Buddha light/day’. This blogger describes a different legend about the falls.
There is a hermitage very close to Buril Waterfall, known as ‘Burilam’ (Buril Hermitage). Though I saw the steps, I didn’t want to go up there lest I disturbed somebody. This blogger did go up the steps, and has an interesting story to tell.
The trail to the falls was much more developed than any trail I had been on all day, and once I went past the falls there were a lot more people – many only dressed and equipped for a stroll (which is basically all you need if your destination is the falls).
I had avoided looking at my watch for hours – ever since I was between Seseok and Samsinbong – because I wanted to focus on moving, and not know just how late I was. When I reached Buril Waterfall, I dared to look at my watch again, and saw that it wasn’t even 2pm yet. Nice. So I let myself relax around the waterfall, confident that I had plenty of time to catch the bus at Ssangyesa.
And I certainly could not have found a better spot to rest from the surprisingly tough hike.